Rory Richards had just finished feeding and changing her twin baby girls in her West End apartment Thursday evening when she sat down with her laptop and noticed a new post in one of the Vancouver buy and sell Facebook groups she's part of. When she clicked to look, she was was shocked.
The post advertised a "Jewish bunk bed for sale." Attached was an image of an oven. The post was making light of incinerators used to kill Jews during the Holocaust.
"I was completely horrified. I was outraged. I was disgusted," Ms. Richards said. "As a Jew in general, you're keenly aware that anti-Semitism is alive and well. But to see it so visibly in front of you was absolutely shocking."
What distressed her more than the post itself was the barrage of anti-Semitic comments on it. Some people said the post was hilarious, some went further by posting Hitler memes.
"To have so many seemingly random normal citizens validate a sentiment like that with likes and laughs … I was like, where am I? What planet am I on? I'm not in Vancouver. I'm not in Canada," Ms. Richards said.
The Globe and Mail is not publishing the poster's name because he is 17. But in an interview, he said laughs were exactly what he was going for.
"It was a joke," he said. "I mean, how could you think I was actually selling an oven? You would have to be really dumb to think it's actually legitimate. If they didn't take it as a joke, well then I'm sorry."
The post was so widely available because the group, Buy and Sell Vancouver BC, has about 49,000 members. People use groups like this on Facebook to sell and trade their old stuff. Plus it was widely shared after people like Ms. Richards took screenshots of the post and shared it as a Facebook status.
The post was deleted by the original poster after about two hours. Group administrators did not return The Globe's request for comment.
The teen who made the post said he didn't really think any Jews would be in the group, or that they would see the post.
"I wasn't targeting Jewish people. I was just doing it for fun," he said.
He's black himself and said he knows what it's like to be the target of racism. But said he just doesn't easily get offended by humour.