I hope this doesn’t count as a clickbait title–it’s a real question that I’m having.
BACKSTORY: My sister is a middle school teacher. She maintains an Instagram account for her students to follow, where she posts reminders about projects and quizzes and facts about her subject. We are Jewish; most of her students aren’t.
The other day, her phone started going insane with THOUSANDS of Instagram alerts. Hundreds of people were suddenly following her account and had commented on every post she’d ever made with the clown face emoji. No words, no other emojis, just the clown face.
Turns out that one of her students, ‘Johnny’, runs a very popular instagram account. Johnny also HATES my sister’s class. He told all his followers to follow my sister’s account and comment the clown emoji.
When my sister told me about it, she was mostly entertained–it was a harmless prank that blew up her phone but didn’t actually inconvenience her or cause property damage. As an ex-teen hooligan myself, I agreed, and we laughed about it. She left the comments up, because she would’ve had to delete all of them individually.
However, recently, I saw a couple posts on Reddit that said that alt-righters were using the clown face emoji as some kind of alt-right signal. This seems really bizarre to me, but if it’s true, then obviously my sister wouldn’t want to leave those comments on her professional Instagram. Additionally, a student who’s using an alt-right signal to harass a Jewish teacher, however harmlessly, should face consequences.
So, r/Judaism–are clown face emojis really a neo-Nazi thing, or is this just a harmless prank?