Mayor Nutter Threatens Magazine with Criminal Charges for “White in Philly” Story

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Philly’s Mayor Nutter is living up to his name. And more troublingly his language quite clearly summons up the censorship used in countries such as Canada and the UK to suppress freedom of speech.

This isn’t about the content of the article. That’s not even the point now. It’s about the mayor of a major city threatening a magazine without the usual Freedom of the Press types having much to say about it.

Nutter has the right to be angry about the content of the article. He has the right, which he uses, to strongly criticize it and write a rebuttal to it.

But this is where he crosses a dangerous line.

I therefore request that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which is charged by the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter with a mandate, among other duties to “institute and conduct educational programs… to promote understanding among persons and groups of different races, colors, religions and national origins,” conduct an inquiry into the state of racial issues, biases and attitudes within and among the many communities and neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia.

Finally I ask that the Commission consider specifically whether Philadelphia Magazine and the writer, Bob Huber, are appropriate for rebuke by the Commission in light of the potentially inflammatory effect and the reckless endangerment to Philadelphia’s racial relations potentially caused by the essay’s unsubstantiated assertions.

While I fully recognize that constitutional protections afforded the press are intended to protect the media from censorship by the government, the First Amendment, like other constitutional rights, is not an unfettered right, and notwithstanding the First Amendment, a publisher has a duty to the public to exercise its role in a responsible way. I ask the Commission to evaluate whether the “speech” employed in this essay is not the reckless equivalent of “shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” its prejudiced, fact-challenged generalizations an incitement to extreme reaction.

Only by debunking myth with fact and by holding accountable those who seek to confuse the two, can we insure that the prejudices reflected in the essay are accorded the weight they deserve: none at all.”

In the United States, we don’t hold people accountable for unpopular views.  We debate them. We don’t forward them to commissions and accuse them of incitement.

Mayor Nutter invokes Shouting Fire in a Crowded Theater, an outdated standard that no longer applies, but whose meaning is that some people can be locked up if their speech is “dangerous”.

Combine that with language about the First Amendment not being an unfettered right and Nutter is entering some very dangerous waters.

There are no specific legal grounds for him to demand prosecution of the author and the magazine, but he appears to be doing his best to manufacture a legal theory for those grounds.

The best possible interpretation of Mayor Nutter’s behavior is that he is practicing simple intimidation. The worst is that he has decided to ignore the First Amendment. Either way it’s clear censorship.

Nutter is obviously angry, but we can’t ignore the implications of what he is saying. Not when Obama Inc. locked up a filmmaker for making a movie that offended Muslims.

Freedom of Speech is under siege and as America begins to look like Europe, there is a very real danger that censorship will be implemented in the guise of tolerance and that Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press will be curtailed in its name.

Standing up to outrageous threats from Democratic politicians will make it clear that the American people will not accept any attack on the First Amendment.

  • gee59

    The leftists have never supported freedom of speech – only freedom to speak in favor of their position. The true liberals are anti-leftists

    • G. Tod Slone

      Now, that's a great statement. I want to quote you. What's your name?
      Thanks.
      G. Tod Slone, Ed.
      The American Dissident. org
      todslone@hotmail.com

    • mjm

      Rememer eric holders line americans are cowards when it comes to talking about race. Well here you have a perfect example why people won't talk except anonymously. Villification, intimidation and threat of prosecution !!!

  • Edward Cline

    It's an interesting phenomenon to watch the wannabe tyrants and censors creep out tentatively from behind the wall, like poisonous brown recluse spiders, with an indemnified bravado encouraged by other assaults on the First Amendment, to propose their own solutions to limit and put fetters on speech that they claim is offensive. It would have been helpful if a link had been made to the Philadelphia Magazine article that The Nutter found offensive. Was it written by a clone of David Duke, or was it a thoughtful article on the marginalization of whites in the city? What particularly were Nutter's briefs in a twist about?

  • Ar'nun

    I actually read the Philly Mag article in question and while it is not a mind blowing litterary genius, it is in fact very accurate to what is actually happeningin today's world. Mayor Nutter's office immediately after the article went viral released a statement saying the office was very concerned about the article because it showed a problem that should be addressed (paraphrased). But it looks like Mayor Nuttjob decided that this shouldn't be discussed.

    This is a great example of Black Liberation Theology at it's finest. It's this mentality that blacks are not capable of discrimination.

  • pagegl

    Given how much Obama and company have ignored the Constitution, given that Obama has stated that the Constitution sometimes gets in his way, given that the Obama administration has and is attempting to overstep the limits placed on the executive branch by the Constitution, this is just another attempt by leftists to redefine the rights of the citizens. It's almost like they want to get rid of the notion of rights and just let us have privileges which they define and regulate.

  • Ja Bear

    Way to prove the point of the article, Mayor Nutter.

    And it was not some KKK-inspired rant. Only expressing the fact that some whites are afraid to express their uncomfortable feelings about some of Philly's black plurality. The ultimate point is that people need to understand each other to get along.

    • Drakken

      The time for understanding one another is over, minorities feel they can get away with anything they want and blame it on European Americans, what they don't realize is the more the minorities push us, the complete opposite effect will be brought to bare, there will be backlash against this sooner or later.

  • Edward Cline

    Here's a link to the Philadelphia Magazine article that Nutter found "disturbing":
    http://www.phillymag.com/articles/white-philly/

    As another reader remarked, it's not an instance of literary achievement, but it is informative.

  • Rex

    The people that this would "incite" don't read.

    • Mary Sue

      or have such trouble with reading comprehension that they don't understand it so assume it is inflammatory.

  • Noesis

    I wonder if a Jihad will be issued an riots to follow?

  • Jim

    Mayor Nutter is validating the whole point behind the article, that race is a taboo subject in public discourse in Philly.
    The article is written about personal views and where they come from. Probably not Pulitzer stuff, but evocative nonetheless. The end result was always destined to set some people off.

  • joe

    It's not inappropriate to yell fire in a crowded theater when in fact there actually is a fire. It's not inappropriate to acknowledge overt, in your face, discrimination when in fact it exists. Nut Job merely demonstrates his bottomless ignorance. Typical – but the media will rally around him because they worship illiterate bozos, thugs, racists, fascists, pedophiles, marxists, anti-Semites, liars, deviants, murderers, rapists, you name it. Nutter is a racist plain and simple. It's just that we live in a country where all truths are only true until something better sounding comes along – something to tickle the fancy of an unused mind. Those who should be moved to anger over Nutter's assault on THEIR rights are too busy watching Dancing With the Stars or American Idol or endorsing the rape of little boys in locker-rooms to be bothered with something so silly as like you know . . . free speech.

  • Drakken

    Looks like Philly is trying to become South Africa North. I just have to wonder how long it will take for European Americans to say enough is enough? By silencing peoples voices, these black pols are only going to encourage a backlash of Balkan proportions. Keep up the great work you leftist/progressive/commis, you make retribution all but enevitable and you will stare in complete amazement as to why.

  • tagalog

    By doing what he is trying to do, how is Mayor Nutter doing anything about "debunking myth with fact?"

    The thing one would be looking for from the black community is a reasoned article rebutting the things that Huber said in his article, followed by an ongoing dialogue by people sincerely interested in addressing racial tension in Philadelphia.

    Instead of doing all one can to silence those who have the guts to speak out frankly.

    I guess that's asking too much. Shut them up at all costs, that's the ticket.

  • obama Guy

    That Philly article was ridiculous nonsense, but this is going too far. Just ignore it. Race baiting among some whites is part of an industry. They don't feel white unless they bash blacks.

    • tagalog

      I think you've got it backwards.

    • patron

      Troll, the article was nothing. It proposed conversing with criminals as a solution to what's happening in ghettos. You're better off trying to befriend wolves.

      Left out in that article was real solutions for crime, like ending subsidies to the drug trade and showing what a sham Democrats call for "fair" and "balance" approaches are. Giving crack dealers and prostitutes food stamps are fair?

      Philadelphia makes everyone else in Pennsylvania out as hicks. At least we didn't create a cesspool of public welfare.

    • raul

      Reporting the truth is bashing blacks!!?? But if it was the other way around it would be ok with you and all of your al charletans,and jesse jacksons jrs(oh thats right the bling went to his head and now he's going to prison)! The American people are wise to your race card!!

    • Lan Astaslem

      sounds like you're describing those two race hustlers al not so sharpton and and his sidekick jesse jerkson – how's that love child he sired doing??

    • Mary Sue

      either you didn't actually read the article, or your reading comprehension is -2

  • Edward Cline

    I suppose it is to be expected that, in the current political climate, an article about how whites are leary of blacks would be targeted and pummelled by "community organizing" mobs, when there have been countless articles in the past about how blacks are leary of whites and feel "victimized" by "the man," and no one says a word about those articles, except liberals, who point to them as "proof" of an oppressively "white" system.

  • Mary Sue

    How much you wanna bet Mayor Nutter doesn't even read proficiently, and either has not read the article, or doesn't comprehend it adequately if he actually did try to read it?

    • JacksonPearson

      He probably couldn't explain "affirmative action" 101 in twenty five words or less.

  • megapotamus

    I'm not sure I see threats of criminal proceedings in Nutter's statements (and the man's name is the man's name, I don't see any point in making obvious and sophomoric jokes about it, maybe his antecedents raised Filberts….). But the article itself is quite small beer. There is asolutely NO mention of the black flash mobs about to return to Center City with the lengthening days and warming nights. I don't know how one addresses race issues in Philly without talking about endemic racist gang attacks. Likewise, where crime is addressed it vastly understates the level of crime and its complexion. It is quaint and eccentric, as described. Violence is scarcely mentioned and sexual violence not at all. Yet even this wan indictment cannot stand. It mist be attacked as a hate crime in itself. This while black America is essentially supported by the rest of us. Nothing will change while that is the case. Only the collapse of ALL giveaways offers an opportunity for true improvement and this can take place only with the collapse of our currency. Luckily this seems to be in our not distant future.

  • fern coppage

    mayor Nutter is on top of all the " progressive" trends.
    mayor Nutter is on the board of iclei the notorious earth summitteers of agenda 21 sustainable development http://www.icleiusa.org/about-iclei/board-of-dire
    mayor nutter supports pha and other sketchy actors
    http://www.phillytrib.com/newsarticles/item/2948-
    our burbs mirror with fair housing schemes.
    mayor Nutter supports the topic of Stanley Kurtz book about robbing the suburbs, with the regionalist outfit DVRPC and their subgroups, our burb taxes go up, we partner with The First Suburbs Group, lose local services
    philly has a human rights commission
    and our burbs mirror with our own human rights commission to intimidate of course.
    our little burb has its own pathetic occupy, mirrored from Nutter supported philly occupy, intimidation tactic.
    mayor Nutter also has helped fascilitate Bill Gates and others bring big bling bling to institute the rubbish marxist common core curriculum ( see michelle malkin's latest) not only in public school but also in the catholic and privates schools. http://www.pidc-pa.org/news/289 burbs too
    liberation theology in some churches and synagogs preaching hatred rather than love, the divide and conquer, keeping hate alive or worse reviving it, classic marx.
    promoting victimhood, keep people angry and divided, it is real folks.
    it is no surprise that mayor Nutter supports the other planks including censorship.
    not to be outdone by mayor Bloomberg will he try to ban cheesesteaks?

  • migsatsix

    I hope Mr. Greenfield sticks to his guns and tells Mr. N to go to heller

  • Brujo Blanco

    It has been reported that DOJ will not investigate the violation of civil rights of whites if the violators are black. The author did incite interest in a topic that is uncontroversial.

    • Mary Sue

      thats because to the identity politics race baiters like holder, the whites are just "getting what's coming to them" whether they actually, on the grand cosmic scale of fairness and karma actually deserved it or not

  • DC Lewis

    Note to Mayor Nutter: insure vs. ensure.

    Or perhaps he's aware of a new benefit from the Affordable Health Care Act the rest of us don't know about yet.

  • Lost_Lenore

    OK I read the article that so seems to have incensed the mayor and for the life of me, I can't see why he "has the right to be angry about the content of that article"?????? It's a compassionate explication of some painful facts . . . . which is a crucial first step toward solutions . . . . we can expect no progress if problems from all points of view cannont be discussed frankly, if the choices of some are constantly given a pass while the voices of others, because they are supposed to be priviledged, are silenced, whether forcibly or through social pressure.

  • stardust

    I seem to recall Atty. Gen. Holder saying that America was afraid to have a "serious" conversation about race. I'm sure in his world that that conversation would be limited to his and those of his ilk's interpetation of how they think it should go.

  • Rick-o

    I wonder what Mayor Nutter will have to say when the AfAm community burns Philly down after a "not guilty" verdict in Trayvon Martin case.

  • Arlie

    The content of his "character" is showing. To the left, free speech is free only if they control it. Has even one flash mob been caught and prosecuted? The contemptible Eric Holder is fostering radicals and justice is no longer blind but gets a pass based on the most superficial grounds…appearance of skin tone. 0 has emboldened every kind of radical tendency world wide. It takes a person with a strong moral foundation and self-control not to fall into all the traps set by the deceptive radical left.

  • manhattanfarmers

    So the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, an organization that divides humanity according to the artificial construct of "race," demonstrates and advocates for the interests of one race over others and includes or excludes members based on race, is up in arms over the appearance of racism in another organization?

  • Joe Clark

    The article by “Philadelphia Magazine” IS racist. There is nothing in the 1st amendment that maintains that Nutter or a-n-y-b-o-d-y is not allowed to call the press out.