The creator of the Humans of New York photoblog hardly ever draws attention to himself by stepping out from behind the camera. His subjects usually speak for themselves, but there is one subject that even founder Brandon Stanton cannot be silent on: Donald Trump.
Stanton posted an open letter addressed to presidential candidate Trump on Monday to his Humans of New York Facebook page. Though the move is uncharacteristic of the typically reserved photographer, his comments were met with overwhelming support from users.
The visionary behind Humans of New York voiced his criticisms of the Republican candidate’s past record of perpetuating racism and encouraging violence and hatred.The post has so far received nearly a million likes and reactions and half a million shares.
Here’s the full text:
“An Open Letter to Donald Trump:
I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.
I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’
I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.
Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.
Stanton’s letter has received over 23,000 comments on Facebook.
Positive comments from users include one from Abanti Dutta, who purported to be speaking on behalf of the rest of the world. The comment, which received over 80,000 likes, said:
“From every other part of the world, we are wondering how he [Trump] is even getting so many votes.”
Another user, Ayla Cherie, received 20,000 likes in her reply to Dutta. She wrote:
“We Americans are wondering that as well.”