SAN JOSE, Calif. - A San Jose pastor said his church’s Easter service that was livestreamed on Zoom was hacked by people shouting out hate speech.
The pastor alleges several hate crimes were committed, after hurtful messages were said about African Americans, Jews and the LGBTQ community.
The service was first interrupted by loud music and then, a tirade of hate speech laced with expletives and racial slurs.
"I think some of the people counted as many as 40 times using the f-word, and the n-word," said Rev. George Oliver of Grace Baptist Church. "They made disparaging remarks about the African American community, the Latin-x community, the LGBTQ community."
Audio captured on Zoom went five minutes long on Easter Sunday. It happened during Grace Baptist Church in San Jose’s first outdoor worship service since the pandemic.
"No one should have to face on such a high holiday like Easter what we faced at this church," said Oliver.
Nobody in person heard it but a dozen people mostly seniors on Zoom did including Barbara Taft from Arizona.
"It was upsetting," said Taft. "I’m old enough to have seen and heard about everything in my life. I felt sorry these young people had this kind of an attitude."
She saw the culprits described as two young men and a kid. They were allowed to speak during "Prayers of the People," when congregants were asked to share prayers.
The pastor believes the progressive institution was targeted. A sign outside reads "Black Lives Matter" and a rainbow banner reads "God is Inclusive."
"Everything they were decrying is everything we stand for," said Oliver.
The hate speech comes after two people were killed and three injured as the church housed homeless one November night.
"They aren’t over that and now they have to prepare themselves to get over this too," said Oliver.
Zoom issued a statement, "We have been deeply upset to hear about these types of incidents, and Zoom strongly condemns such behavior."
The company said its updated default settings, and added features to help hosts access security controls.
The pastor said if the incident was meant to deter them, it hasn’t.
"They didn't do anything but amp us up to keep up the good fight," said Oliver.
It doesn’t appear the culprits were captured on camera. San Jose Police said the church has not yet filed a police report. Once they do, they will investigate.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.