The rival newspapers were as opinionated as many New Yorkers and suburbanites. On May 17, 2014, the New York Post plastered its front page with “HEIL HAIL: City puts brakes on ‘Nazi’ cabby.” The Daily News came up with a similar pun: “Hail Hitler.”
Provoking the furor was taxi driver Gabriel Diaz, 27, a self-described National Socialist whose on-the-job attire included a swastika wrapped around his left arm. He explained that his passengers couldn’t see the armband, but pedestrians could, eliciting a stream of catcalls as he drove past onlookers.
“People would say, ‘Fuck you, Nazi!,’ typical stuff,” Diaz told the Post, which of course didn’t spell out the four-letter word. A New Jersey mother who “couldn’t believe her eyes” at first complained to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and later the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Others were so disgusted, they lodged complaints as well.
The ADL, the Post reported, was “extremely disturbed by this provocative and offen sive display” and urged the TLC “to investigate this matter and take appropriate action.” So it did, suspending Diaz’s hack license for 30 days after he pleaded guilty to violating TLC rules, which prohibit “any act that is against the best interests of the public.” Diaz also promised not to wear the armband while working.