Broward Clerk of Court Brenda Forman posted a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler earlier this week on her social media account.
On Wednesday, she explained her Facebook post, which has created concerns in the county, to Miami television station WPLG.
“It’s not that I am for Hitler, trust me, that is not who I am,” according to Forman.
The post shows a quote that is falsely attributed to Hitler next to a photo that is intended to resemble the Nazi leader.
The quote, which discusses how to take control away from people, has been erroneously attributed to Mein Kampf, the Nazi leader’s manifesto, and reproduced many times on social media.
Broward residents, some of whom are Forman’s political opponents, are questioning her motives.
Paul Backman, who is running against her in November’s election, says, “I was just appalled that in the 21st century we have to go back and relive the history that has existed between any quote dealing with an individual by the name of Hitler in reference to Jews.”
He adds, “Where an individual who references herself as the first female and first woman of color. . . I give her all of that credit because she was, but this is just unhinged.”
Forman explains that she was not sharing the post in order to glorify the message or the man to whom it was incorrectly attributed.
She says that she was instead attempting to share the post’s words as a warning.
According to Forman, “I don’t set out to offend people. I never will offend any group of people, race, creed, color or nationality or your religion. That is not who I am, and it was not meant to be set out there in that way.”
She went on to say, “I want my African American community to know because of what’s going out there. You have people out there marching for Black Lives Matter, why is that the clerk of the courts can’t fight for you on the inside and let you know, I know what injustice is?”
However, Backman responds that hate in any form is unacceptable.
“I don’t care, it doesn’t matter where it comes from, everyone in this country and everyone in the world comes from the same place and we should expect each other, we should respect their religions, we should respect their beliefs, and i just don’t understand why this world can’t all play in the sandbox nicely,” he says.
More than 24 hours after she posted it, Forman deleted the post due to criticism from community members and people in politics.
Forman posted the quote at 8:19 p.m. Monday and deleted it around 11 p.m. Tuesday.
State Rep. Michael Gottlieb, a Broward Democrat, wrote on Facebook, “Historical leaders who were tyrants who committed genocidal murder are not leaders that our elected officials should be quoting. Brenda Forman made a choice to post [a] quote attributed to Adolf Hitler.
He went on to say, “Her doing so in my opinion shows a complete lack of respect for the atrocities of the Holocaust and those who lost their lives fighting against Hitler’s tyranny. … She is not fit for public office and should be strongly rebuked for this anti-Semitic post.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wassserman Schultz, Ted Deutch and Frederica Wilson issued a joint statement Wednesday condemning Forman’s post.
“Using Hitler to convey any point of view or message is reckless and wildly insensitive,” their statement reads.
Forman’s sharing the message “is not only painful and harmful, it is also repulsive that she would amplify the supposed ‘wisdom’ from the world’s most heinous mass murderer, anti-Semite, and white supremacist. Clerk of Courts Forman must apologize for giving a platform to this type of hateful and abhorrent rhetoric and for the damage and hurt she caused.”
Sabrina Javellana, the vice mayor of Hallandale Beach, said on social media that she was “disgusted” by Forman’s post.
“What on earth is she thinking? Anti-Semitism is unacceptable and this must be condemned,” Javellana wrote on Twitter.
Rabbi Andrew Jacobs of the Ramat Shalom Synagogue asked Forman to explain why she was posting the quote. “Seeing this on your page without any explanation — is very, very troubling,” he wrote.
She responded around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, just before deleting the tweet: “I only reposted not my views, but we as people are color is being treated this way every day, with hate and bigotry, I am not racist or a bigot, I don’t hate anyone.”
Forman continued, “This was a repost so others can see this man was not of the human race, this is still happening today, and for others to JUDGE me based upon a post will not stop from being a human being first and fighting for the rights of the people.”
She later posted, “this is an eye opener on people of color minorities who are brought down every day, this is not my posting it’s a repost, I don’t hate, I’m not a bigot, I have nothing against anyone religion, but to judge me I guess has always been in others heart to do even before this post.”
Facebook flagged the post for a fact check issue before it was deleted. The company’s message stated, “False information. Checked by independent fact checkers.”
The issue, according to the checkers, was that Adolph Hitler did not say it.
As far as why she deleted her post, Forman says, “I deleted it because it needed to be deleted because there were a lot of negative things being said towards me and my people.”
Forman faces retired judges Paul Backman and Mark Speiser in the Aug. 18 election. Backman and Speiser are Jewish, as is Forman’s ex-husband, former Circuit Court Clerk Howard Forman.
Last week, Forman posted a 40-minute video on Facebook, including a series of grievances against people she accused of crimes, racism and mental breakdowns.
She said in the video that while she was recovering from COVID-19, God gave her a list of people to “expose.”
In addition, she said that she has been treated unfairly as “the most hated woman of color in Broward County.”