Gritty, the bright orange, furry, 7-foot creature of Philadelphian origin, is no longer a simple mascot for a hockey team: Antifa activists have co-opted him as their own. In fact, they so effectively claimed Gritty as a working-class, leftist icon that the Wall Street Journal was forced to publish an anguished op-ed Monday demanding that these people keep their “Marxist hands off Gritty.”
“The same leftists who want statues of Thomas Jefferson removed are now petitioning for Gritty to replace Mayor Frank Rizzo on a downtown mural,” Jillian Kay Melchior said in the Wall Street Journal op-ed.
“Gritty belongs to Philadelphia, not to far-left activists. Still, in an era when everything from Nike and the NFL to your local restaurant is a political battlefield, this development is as predictable as it is sad,” she said. “Not only can’t we have nice things; we can’t even have silly, creepy things.”
Leftist activists immediately latched on to Gritty after the Philadelphia Flyers introduced him as their new mascot in late September. The socialist magazine Jacobin, for example, tweeted on Sept. 26 that “Gritty is a worker.”
An anti-capitalist Gritty parody account sprouted up on Twitter on Oct. 2, and it has already amassed thousands of followers.
The Daily Beast reported last week that Gritty is an “anti-fascist now, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” But it’s more than just a joke on the internet. When Donald Trump visited Philadelphia last week, protesters showed up carrying signs that showed Gritty waving an antifa flag and wearing anarchist imagery.
“Gritty is a symbol of Philadelphia,” Philadelphia-based group The Liberation Project told the Daily Beast. “It's not that he's an anti-fascist character; it's that he's representative of the people, and the people of Philadelphia are grittily anti-fascist.”
And in a twist that may become even more troubling to op-ed writers at the Wall Street Journal, the Twitter love for Gritty has taken on a distinctly romantic edge, with some even calling for sexy Gritty Halloween costumes.
Is NOTHING sacred?
Cover image: PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: New Flyers mascot Gritty entertains fans during the Preseason game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on September 27, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via AP Images.