A video circulating on social media featuring a woman removing posters with photos of kidnapped Israeli victims at the University of Southern California (USC) has gone viral. The New York-based nonpartisan organization, Stop Antisemitism, claims it has identified the woman as the daughter of Redmond, Washington mayor Angela Birney. Redmond has a population of 76,354 and is home to Microsoft and Nintendo of America.
Mayor Birney has remained silent about the video and has locked down her social media accounts. I emailed her through her mayor's office account for a comment. If and when she replies, I'll update this post.
The viral video shows a woman tearing flyers from a bulletin board in the hallway of a building at USC. The man who is recording the video asks the woman, "Why are you taking those down?" The woman, holding several flyers, tears down at least eight more. She then looks at the man recording her and says "Hey," while smiling. She continues to tear down the posters, then looks over at the man and giggles, then returns to tearing down the photos.
"Why are you laughing? That's not funny," the man says. Her reply is hard to make out, but you can hear her say "genocide."
"It's not genocide. They're kidnapped individuals," the man says as the woman walks away with the posters.
USC issued a statement promising to look into the matter:
We are aware of a social media post of a person removing posters from what appears to be a building on our campus. We know this is upsetting to many of you and encourage everyone in the USC community to respect others' views/act with civility towards each other. We are looking into this but are prohibited from providing additional information due to student privacy laws. You can learn more about our resources, reassurances and answers to help you navigate.
USC woman filmed ripping down poster after poster of kidnapped Israelis has been identified as Rachel Birney.— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) November 10, 2023
Birney is currently in the PhD program at the School of Natural Science & Mathematics and is also a Physics TA. pic.twitter.com/f9J7aQ0WWu