Sunday June 18, 2017

One man's mission to power wash hate away

One man's mission to power wash hate away 1:05

Listen 21:24

Corey Fleischer owns a power-washing company in Montreal. On his way to work one day he saw a swastika spray-painted on a street corner. He couldn't get that image out of his mind, so he left his appointment, excusing himself from the client due to equipment problems, and went back to erase the offending graffiti.

Watching the hateful graffiti wash away, Fleischer says a euphoria came over him. "This feeling came over me that I've been searching for my whole life. Now I needed that feeling again."

It was the beginning of his one-man personal mission to remove as much hate from the public streets as possible, which he does for free, on his own time. 

"I tell everybody it's like drugs. It's so addictive. And people ask me why I keep on doing this and why I put myself in this situation - I'm so addicted to it, that it goes through my mind 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I eat hate crimes for breakfast, you know, I'm eating them for lunch, I eat them for dinner, and then when I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming swastikas."

Corey Fleischer in Israel

Corey Fleischer prays at The Western Wall during his first visit to Jerusalem. (Corey Fleischer)

Though he erases graffiti about all kinds of hate, including messages of homophobia, Islamophobia and against visible minorities,  the vast majority of the hate he encounters is anti-semitic. While his family is Jewish, Fleischer says he never went to Hebrew school nor synagogue, and doesn't keep kosher.  But he is proud of his Jewish heritage and to be able to remove anti-semitic signs and symbols.  

"It's about being a good person. Forget stereotypes, forget about religion, forget about putting people into groups. It's about being a good person  and about doing the right thing."

His work has garnered international attention and he gets requests for help every day from places all over the world. If Fleischer can't physically get to your location, he'll arrange for someone else to help out. If you'd like his help you can contact him at:

Corey Fleischer on Facebook 

@Erasinghate on Instagram

Click Listen above to hear the full interview.