Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Man Carves Giant Swastika Into Lawn, Claims He Didn’t Know It Was Anti-Semitic

A California man carved a giant swastika into his front yard, then claimed he doesn’t know it was a hateful symbol, NBC News San Diego reported.

The El Sobrante homeowner, Steven Johnson, asserted that it’s actually a centuries-old Tibetan symbol. It can be clearly seen in an aerial view of his home.

“It doesn’t represent anything,” Johnson told the NBC affiliate. “That represents me not having to pull weeds over in that part of my yard; that’s what it represents to me. What does it represent to you?”

The neighbors are in agreement: It’s a swastika, the symbol of Nazism. And many are afraid.

Renee Schultz, who is Jewish and has lived next to Johnson for almost 30 years, was shocked — she said he’s never done this before.

“I was very clear with him about my feelings,” she said. “I don’t agree with it; I think it’s wrong. I don’t like it, but it is his yard.”

County supervisor John Gioia said there’s nothing the county can do, but he encouraged people to share their concerns.

The yard also features a peace sign, and there are swastika-like symbols around the doorbell, according to NBC San Diego.

Johnson claimed to be unfamiliar with the symbol’s history, at one point asking, “What is a swastika?”

He also has a swastika sticker of one on his motorcycles, but when questioned about it, he asked reporters to leave.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.