Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

A Drone Dropped Flyers With Swastikas On Them Outside An Ariana Grande Concert

The flyers, which said "the press is the enemy," were also dropped over an event at Sacramento State University.

Last updated on May 7, 2019, at 9:18 a.m. ET

Posted on May 6, 2019, at 12:26 p.m. ET

Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

A drone dropped flyers emblazoned with swastikas and anti-media messages Friday outside an Ariana Grande concert and at a Sacramento State University event, the school newspaper first reported.

Dom Vitiello / The State Hornet / Via Twitter: @Dom_Vitiello

The flyers said "the press is the enemy" and accused the media and government of being "infiltrated" by "prostitutes and felons." The Sacramento Police Department told BuzzFeed News it was aware of a drone dropping flyers over the concert venue, and officers were investigating.

According to the State Hornet, the flyers were dropped over an annual dinner held by the university on a pedestrian bridge near campus. They were also found outside the Golden 1 Center arena, where Ariana Grande was performing, according to a reporter from the student paper who attended the concert.

A spokesperson for Grande did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dom Vitiello / The State Hornet / Via Twitter: @Dom_Vitiello

In a statement shortly after the incident on Friday, university president Robert S. Nelsen condemned "in the strongest terms the dissemination of hate speech and propaganda" at the dinner.

"The anonymous act of spreading such vile material is offensive and runs counter to the principles of inclusion and diversity practiced at Sac State," Nelsen said. "It did not stop the event, nor will it slow our march toward greater understanding and commitment to the rights and safety of our campus community."

.@PrezNelsen issued the following statement this evening: "Sacramento State condemns in the strongest terms the dissemination of hate speech and propaganda Friday evening at our annual fundraising dinner on the Guy West Bridge." Full statement: https://t.co/bx1XqbjJs7.

Some of the flyers had "Tracy Mapes Β©2018" in the corner and promoted social media pages for something called "The Red X Society."

Mapes, a 57-year-old from Sacramento, was arrested in 2017 for a similar incident in which he dropped anti-media flyers over two NFL games in Oakland and Santa Clara, KCRA reported at the time. He was reportedly charged with a misdemeanor and released.

A booking photo of Tracy Mapes following his 2017 arrest
Santa Clara Police Department / AP

A booking photo of Tracy Mapes following his 2017 arrest

According to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, it is illegal to fly drones over stadiums during games.

A spokesperson for the FAA told BuzzFeed News it is illegal to fly a drone over people without a waiver, and that the agency is working with local law enforcement to investigate Friday's incident.

In a long email to BuzzFeed News early Monday morning, in which he claimed that the media and government are being run by β€œfelons and prostitutes,” Mapes did not deny dropping the flyers.

On Facebook, Mapes posted several aerial drone images on Thursday and Friday.

Images of the flyers he released Friday were posted on his Facebook in April.

Also in April, he posted a video of a drone releasing flyers over the California State Capitol building, which was set to the song "Superman" by Five for Fighting.

The Red X Society, which claims to be a group whose "Only Membership Requirement is in the Participation or Direct Action in Exposing US Corruption," has fewer than 100 followers on Facebook and just three on Twitter. It was created by Mapes in 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT