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Brighton church Zoom-bombed by racists, prompting investigation

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Posted at 6:19 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 06:19:17-05

BRIGHTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Brighton church was Zoom-bombed during a service on Valentine’s Day with images of white supremacy while the reverend spoke about the struggles of civil rights.

Rev. Julie Brock was talking about civil rights and the struggles the state and a nation still face. It was then that a KKK image appeared on the screen.

“I realized that this was a Zoom-bombing, that these were people protesting the message of the service,” Brock said.

Rev. Brock is with the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton and was performing her service when KKK imagery appeared over the Zoom meeting.

Then personal threats followed.

“There were lots of uses of the n-word, that I was an n-lover and a race traitor," Brock said. "There were death threats that they were going to kill me, that they knew where I was."

Brock says the Livingston County Sheriff's office is now investigating.

She says the church has been performing services over Zoom since the pandemic began and hasn’t seen or even had issues in the past.

Brock says the person who did the Zoom-bombing used a church member's name. “The person that was sharing the inappropriate images was disguised as the name of one of our congregants,” Brock said.

Use of Zoom is up 458 percent from the same quarter last year as more people resort to the popular app for meetings.

Here are a few things to keep in mind so something like this doesn’t happen during your next meeting:

  • Be wary of a link: Scammers will send a malicious link in an email that usually leads to malware.
  • Adjust the screen share options immediately. This can be adjusted in settings.
  • Use waiting rooms.
  • Create a webinar instead of a meeting. This will just be a presentation to a group and will not have any participation.
  • Remember everything is being recorded, and watch what you say or share in chat.

Brock says after the Zoom-bombing, she is mostly happy about the way the church responded. “Our church actually sent out a letter to the folks that Zoom bombed and said, Hey listen, we don't want to sit in our silos. We know something profound must have happened to make you have that much hate. We want to invite you into dialogue with us," Brock said. "People really do care about human dignity and worth, and so that’s what I think we were trying to spread after this whole thing has come out."

The reverend says the church is having another Zoom service this Sunday, and State Rep. Elissa Slotkin will be a guest speaker, and the topic will be white supremacy.