A poster in a New York subway station advertising a book about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was defaced with anti-Semitic vandalism this week in an incident police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
The words “DIE, JEW BITCH!” and a swastika were written in what appeared to be black marker over an image of Ginsburg, a Brooklyn native and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Subway riders first reported the vandalism at Nassau Avenue station in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn on Tuesday, tweeting complaints to the New York City Police Department and the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, responding to the reports, called the vandalism “abhorrent” on Wednesday and said the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force would conduct a full investigation into the matter.
MTA crews were able to scrub the offensive markings from the poster, which advertised The Unstoppable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American Icon by Antonia Fenix, a book to commemorate the justice’s 25th year on the Supreme Court.
“Our crews removed it immediately after NYPD had collected evidence for its investigation,” the MTA tweeted Wednesday. “Again, we regret that our customers were exposed to this hate speech, and thank you for notifying us.”
New York, home to over 1 million Jews, has witnessed an uptick in anti-Semitic crimes in recent years. There were 180 anti-Semitic incidents reported by the police department in the city last year, up 22 percent from 2017.
Since the start of the year, police have responded to reports of spray-painted swastikas in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as smashed windows at synagogues.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who last month pledged a crackdown on anti-Semitic incidents in the city, condemned the vandalism as a “despicable act” and called on anyone with information to contact the NYPD.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg represents the very best of our city,” he tweeted Wednesday. “We’ll find whoever is responsible for this anti-Semitic trash and ensure they face consequences for trying to spread hate in New York City.”