Brick Township Mayor John G. Ducey apologized Wednesday after his response to a resident’s complaints about Orthodox Jews at the town’s beaches and parks drew a viral reaction on social media from those who criticized the mayor for not pointing out the anti-Semitism, NJ.com reported.
Ducey was responding to an anti-Semitic tweet by Tuesday night asking: “Can we please do something about our parks and beaches. They are being invaded by the hasidic and orthodox jews and being ruined.”
“Our tax paying residents are being forced out while politicians sit and do nothing,” the user added.
Instead of condemning the tweet, Ducey, a Democrat, responded: “Just call police with any problems and they will send them out.”
After major backlash from other social media users throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, Ducey tried to back-peddle.
Ducey said Wednesday that he dashed off a reply while at lunch and didn’t realize the way it would be interpreted.
Ducey said his intent was to diffuse the situation “rather than the unfortunate focus of the original tweet.”
In an email to The New York Post, Ducey apologized for “any hurt I caused but [sic] not being careful with what I said.”
The word “them” in his tweet was in reference to park security, not Jewish people, he said.
“I knew no call would be made because there was no problem that he could report…,” Ducey wrote. “I have learned to be more careful with social media and I am taking the advice of some of my critics and not responding at all to such things in the future.”
Brick shares a border with Lakewood, which has surged in population with one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the world. Racial and religious tensions between Lakewood and residents of surrounding townships have escalated as the population in the Orthodox community continues to expand.