Wausau's anti-Semitic "mayoral candidate" that everyone is talking about - but no one is sure what to do with
A new candidate says (bullhorns?) that he’s planning to run for Mayor of Wausau. And he really seems to not like Jewish people.
Christopher Wood 1 has gotten the (negative) attention of many Wausau residents for his speeches made mostly on the 400 Block of Wausau. And it’s not just in Wausau that he’s getting attention. Wood posts his speeches on Twitter and TikTok accounts, both labeled @leaderoftheusa.
It’s there where Wood is drawing the most attention — not just for himself, but for Wausau, as anti-anti-Semitism outlets are covering his antics, labeling him a mayoral candidate in Wausau. Some of those accounts have large followings, linking Wausau and this openly anti-semitic candidate together in people’s minds.
In case there is any doubt about his anti-Semitism, or lest you think The Wausonian is exaggerating:
Technically, he’s not yet a mayoral candidate. Wood, who claims he’s leading the “revolution,” spends a significant part of his speeches decrying the number of Jewish people he says hold high office in the federal government. He lists them off one at a time, talks about each of them having dual citizenship with Israel, then ends the listing with “Jew!”
I first came across Wood before I knew his name when he was brought up in a city council meeting in May. Josh Dirks, a former candidate for city council, mentioned a man shouting anti-Semitic speeches into a megaphone on the 400 Block. That was late May, and Dirks said he’d already been doing so for three straight weeks. Dirks asked what could be done about it.
Since then Wood has given his speeches at the 400 Block when people are gathered to hear the latest Concert on the Square, at the most recent Pride event on the 400 Block, and on a busy street in front of the Marathon County Courthouse.
The Wausonian reached out to Deputy Chief Matt Barnes. The Wood situation is a complex one. On the one hand, he has a right to speak in a public place, even if no one wants to hear what he’s saying. Even if it’s offensive. Those rights are protected by the First Amendment, which also protects the right of a free press.
But Wood pushes his right to the limit. Often armed with a megaphone amplifying his voice, he borders on harassment. In one incident, residents set off their car alarms in an effort to drown him out.
Others are concerned for his safety. According to one person commenting online, residents are becoming so fed up with Wood that they’re ready to take matters into their own hands. Physically. The commenter urged them not to do that, since he films his speeches which might give him evidence he could use against the assaulters.
Another downtown business owner is encouraging downtown dwellers to buy an airhorn in order to drown out his speeches.
Will any of those tactics work? Wood doesn’t seem to think so. In one video from earlier this month, he responds to someone telling him to stop before he begins his speech at the 400 Block: “Brother you know you’re not going to stop me from saying nothing, we go through this all the time. I gotta do it. I keep going until either A) I’m dead, or B) the people are free. That’s the only options.”
How are the city and the police dealing with him? As Barnes is sure to point out to The Wausonian: They’re not “dealing” with him.