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An electronic road sign on the Dolphin Expressway in Miami-Dade County went beyond traffic warnings this week. Way beyond.
Drivers on State Road 836 saw this flashing message: “Arrest Fauci.”
The sign also shared messages of misinformation including “COVID-19 was a hoax” and “vaccines kill.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA say the shots are safe. NBC6 has video of the 836 sign showing the messages near the exit to Northwest 27th Avenue.
Miami-Dade’s Expressway Authority said the electronic sign was hacked early Tuesday, and directed other questions to the Florida Department of Transportation, the agency running the sign because of nearby construction.
Spokeswoman Tish Burgher told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that FDOT’s I-395/SR 836/I-95 Project Team went to inspect the “vandalized” sign, but that when workers arrived, the sign was no longer displaying the rogue messages. She said the contractor now has new ways to “prevent further vandalism” of the signs, which provide real-time traffic updates to passing drivers.
FDOT did not respond to a question on whether the hacking was done from outside or inside the agency.
The arrest message referred to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert. He’s been the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and is the White House chief medical advisor. He’s served under seven presidents, including former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
Fauci has his own bobblehead and last year during quarantine, Miami Herald news partner CBS4 anchor Frances Wang created a video explaining Fauci’s background to the tune of “Prince Ali” from Disney’s “Aladdin.” The pandemic made Fauci a household name, but not everyone is a fan. He has his share of haters.
Fauci had to get bodyguards in April 2020 and has faced criticism and hate mail, which reportedly intensified after a trove of his emails were released to national outlets, including BuzzFeed and The Washington Post.