The photographer behind the popular blog Humans of New York has written a scathing public letter to Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“I try my hardest not to be political,” Stanton wrote. “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. … 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.”
Stanton noted that Trump has tweeted “racist” lies, delayed disavowing “white supremacy,” defended those who commit violence at his rallies and has “gleefully” told “stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood.”
“I am a journalist, Mr. Trump,” Stanton, who has worked with the U.N. Refugee Agency, wrote. “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.”
The letter, shared almost 900,000 on Facebook and retweeted more than 30,000 times, elicited an immediate reaction from HONY’s large following.
“Thank you, Brandon,” one commenter wrote. “We need more LOVE and KINDNESS in this world, not hate and fear. You have shown us that!” Another wrote: “I am white. I am a man. I am from the south. I am a Christian. And I am a conservative republican … but it is still BEYOND ME how anybody is in support of Donald Trump.”
Humans of New York‘s conceit is simple: Stanton photographs people on the streets of New York, then offers short quotes from an interview with the subject. The result is a collage of life in the Big Apple that recently was released in a book, which became a bestseller.
“I’m just working on universal peace and getting everybody to love each other,” a quote from man, in a recent post, read. “I’m an official brother man. I’m the one. Well, I’m one of the ones. There are all kinds of brother mans: black, white, Indian. A brother man is somebody who helps when people need help. A brother man will stand up and say: ‘That’s not right.’ A lot of women are brother mans too. But we don’t call them brother mans. We call them sisters.”
“Right now I’m an assistant at a recording studio, which basically means cleaning the bathrooms, doing prep work, and sharpening pencils,” a quote from a woman read. “I just have to prove that I’ll go out of my way to get things done. … The ultimate goal is to become a producer. Audio is a bit of a boys’ club. There were only three girls in my program at college, and there’s only one other woman at my studio now. I’m not sure why more women don’t pursue it. It’s perfect for me.”
The blog got a lot of attention last year when President Obama left a comment on the HONY Facebook page under a post about an Iranian father and his humanitarian son.
“What an inspirational story,” Obama wrote. “One of the most fulfilling things that can happen to you as a parent is to see the values you’ve worked to instill in your kids start to manifest themselves in their actions — and this one really resonated with me. I hope this young man never loses his desire to help others.”
“It appears that the blog panders to our inherent curiosity and perhaps even just helps us remember that everyone else is just as dejected, messed-up or as weird as ourselves,” the Independent wrote in 2014.
Stanton’s anti-Trump Facebook post is below: