A video capturing a snowplow driver in Lakewood, New Jersey appearing to intentionally spray two Orthodox Jewish men with snow and ice is now being investigated as a hate crime.
Initially posted to the Facebook page of Donny Klarman—an employee of Waste Management—the video captured a snowplow driver approaching two Orthodox Jewish men, eventually lowering the vehicle's plow, dousing the two men with snow and ice, the two men in the plow vehicle audibly laughing as they drove off.
The video was captioned "This one's for you JC", along with two laughing emojis—JC presumably meaning Jesus Christ.
People were horrified by the contents of the video as it continued to gain momentum on social media, expressing their heartbreak and anger at such a blatant instance of antisemitism.
TIkToker ohsorandom2009 subsequently reposted the initial video, urging her followers to give Donny Klarman "all the attention that he wanted" for his behavior.
Upon seeing the video, the Anti Defamation League of New York and New Jersey issued a statement on their Twitter page.
"We are absolutely disgusted by this video footage which appears to show a snow plow operator intentionally and callously targeting two Orthodox Jewish men."
"This conduct is as dangerous as it is disturbing and we urge the victims to file a report with the @Lakewood_PD."
Waste Management would later release a statement on their Twitter page, condemning Klarman's actions and revealing he had been suspended pending an investigation.
"The hateful conduct depicted in this video is unacceptable and does not reflect the values and inclusion of diversity we hold as a company."
"The employee is suspended while we investigate the incident, but we can confirm that this behavior will not be tolerated from any WM employee and we will not employ those who act in this way."
NBC News later reported Waste Management terminated Klarman this past Tuesday, saying in a statement:
"While the incident did not involve a company vehicle or company equipment, the employee associated with this social media post is no longer employed with WM."
"The conduct of this former employee is unacceptable and not in accordance with WM’s code of conduct, commitments and values."
Klarman could be seen in the video wearing a Larson Ford employee shirt, but the dealership confirmed to News 12 New Jersey he had not been an employee there for several months, with President Rob Larson going on to say he was "disgusted" by the video, and hoped the driver would be "fully prosecuted."
Ray Coles, Mayor of Lakewood New Jersey was also horrified by the video, telling the Lakewood Scoop there was little to no doubt this was a hate crime.
"Not only was it cruel, but it was also incredibly stupid and dangerous."
“The plow could easily have thrown chunks of ice or rock and seriously injured or killed either of the victims."
"I am glad to know our police department is taking this as the serious incident that it is."
Coles later confirmed to NBC News the two men targeted in the video are pressing charges.
Waste Management added they were fully cooperating with local authorities and their investigation and they had reached out to leaders in the local Jewish community following the incident.
"Earlier today, WM leaders also met with leaders from the Jewish Community in northern New Jersey and New York City."
"We are grateful for the communication and understanding shared at the meeting."
"We agree that acts of hate against any community cannot be tolerated and we are committed to the safety of the Jewish Community."
The Lakewood Police Department and the The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office both have yet to comment on the matter.