Michigan Governor Compares Tackling ‘Hate Speech’ to Fighting in World War II in Letter to Zuckerberg


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer compared fighting “hate speech” to Detroit’s industrial efforts during World War II in a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week.

Whitmer’s letter was issued in response to a Facebook group called “People vs. Gretchen Whitmer” unearthed by the Detroit Metro Times. According to the report, the Facebook group included posts “threatening violence” against elected Democrats and contained “vulgar insults against women, Muslims, Democrats, and LGBTQ+ communities.”

The governor’s Wednesday letter to Zuckerberg calls on the social media giant to enforce its “own community standards” against hate speech.

“Renowned business consultant and educator Peter Drucker once noted that management is doing things right, while leadership is doing the right things,” Whitmer begins her letter. “In the great history of my home state of Michigan, never has that been more apparent than when the titans of Detroit industry answered the country’s call to lead the Arsenal of Democracy during the second World War.”

“Today, the upcoming 2020 election will undoubtedly have its own historic impact on our nation, and your are today’s corporate titan whose time is now to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure violent and hateful speech on your platform does not undermine the security of our election—and the safety of individuals—this year,” Whitmer continues.

She goes on to accuse Zuckerberg of monetizing “hate speech and its related violence that tears apart the fabric of our society.”

Her letter concludes with the story of William Knudsen, who was the chairman of General Motors when the company was asked by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to lead America’s war production effort.

“When asked why he did it, he replied simply, ‘This country has been good to me, and I want to pay it back.’ Mr. Zuckerberg, this country has been good to you, and history is knocking on your proverbial door,” Whitmer writes. “Are you prepared to rise to the occasion, as Knudsen did, to protect our democracy from ongoing attacks? For the safety and security of many, may your only answer be, ‘Yes.’”

Whitmer’s full letter can be read below:

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mark Zuckerberg” by Anthony Quintano. CC BY 2.0.






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