Although it may seem innocuous, the banana, in addition to having both nutritional benefits and associations with political instability, has frequently been employed as a racist symbol, used in historical incidences of bigotry wherein it was thrown at black soccer players, used to inscribe racial slurs, and earlier this year, hung from nooses after a black woman was elected student government president at American University.
Now, the tropical fruit has shown up as as instrument in another disturbing event. According to Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger, on Sunday, a man wearing a red swastika armband was being "belligerent" and "Alex Jones-style yelling" at a crowd of people on the street. After an unnamed bystander told the unnamed neo-Nazi to "get the fuck out of our city," the neo-Nazi reportedly responded by calling the man—who was white—"an ape" and throwing a banana at him.
Inevitably, things escalated and, as a video posted to World Star Hip Hop shows, the neo-Nazi was soon knocked unconscious via a punch to the jaw.
Social media was employed to track and call out the man; a photo of the suspect wearing the swastika armband had emerged on Twitter earlier on Sunday, alongside accusations that he had harassed a black man on the bus.
Seattle resident Sean Patrick Duff, who was "really high on like 800 mg of THC" and on his way to see Baby Driver at the time of the altercation, told The Stranger that, "Everyone was so joyous," after the neo-Nazi was punched. "It was like a bonding for the community."
Duff also confirmed that as the swastika-emblazoned man came to, he reached out for help, which was denied by bystanders who called him 'Nazi trash.'
Seattle police eventually confirmed the incident, and stated that the neo-Nazi removed his armband and did not want to discuss the incident with officers.
One Twitter user, identified only as @teethnclaws, told BuzzFeed News that the the man in the armband was "neutralized" as a direct result of an online campaign to track him down. "I would say that we successfully identified, tracked and coordinated to neutralize a clear and present danger to Seattle. Whether we coordinated the actual punch or not, I, for one, applaud the anonymous hero."
This case of banana-fueled violence isn't the first instance of food serving as the impetus for extreme political discourse in the climate of a highly polarized, Trump-era, post-Charlottesville America.
Just last month, a "Kill Nazis" cake led to both death threats and an outpouring of support for a California baker in the waker of the Charlottesville riots. And earlier this year, a Portland bar ejected suspected neo-Nazis from their premises after they went on a loud, anti-semitic rant.