Longtime Rehoboth Beach author and gay activist Fay Jacobs was the target of a hate crime Nov. 14.
According to a Facebook post the day after the incident, Jacobs said she had been asked to give her gay history program, “Gay with Fay: Gay History They Never Taught You in School,” by an LBTGQ organization in Pennsylvania. Just as the program was about to start, she said, three people wearing MAGA hats joined and began screaming obscenities, showing a Ku Klux Klan video of cross burnings and projecting ear-splitting sounds.
“It was a disgusting home invasion of my computer,” said Jacobs, in her post. “It took seven interminable minutes to block these screaming, hate-spewing assholes. It felt personal, unexpected, like being blindsided. And it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life as a writer, LGBT activist and human being.”
The crime was committed over Zoom and while the technology is new, there’s already a term used to describe what happened – Zoombombing, which is when intruders commandeer video calls.
In an interview Nov. 16, Jacobs said it wasn’t the first time she’s been the victim of an attack, but it’s the first time in a long time and the worst example she’s ever suffered.
“What kind of people would do something like this?” she said.
Jacobs said the organization, LGBT Center of Greater Reading, has reported the incident, recorded on Zoom, to the police. She said she’s since learned that Zoombombing is a federal crime and that other offenders have been prosecuted.
A couple of days removed from the incident, Jacobs called the people who interrupted the meeting cowards. They wouldn’t do this in person, she said.
In her Facebook post, Jacobs said she took down a Pride flag that had been hanging outside her home since Pride Week in June because she was concerned and shaken.
On the phone, Jacobs said it was an unnecessary concern. She said the lesson she’s taken away is how much support there is in the Cape Region. Hundreds of supportive comments have been made since her original post.
“God, I love our community,” said Jacobs. “That’s the gay and straight community. There’s been an amazing show of support from a diverse group of people.”