Former Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz Likens Mask Mandates to the Holocaust

Tito Ortiz, Amber Nicole Miller at the "Hacksaw Ridge" Screening at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 24, 2016 in Beverly Hills, CA (Photo: Kathy Harris via Shutterstock)

Tito Ortiz, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship pioneer who recently resigned from his position as Mayor Pro Tem of Huntington Beach, California, after a series of scandals, remains a lightning rod of controversy.

During an August 15 interview with former heavyweight boxer David “Nino” Rodriguez, Ortiz encouraged listeners to rebel against COVID-19 regulations and preventative measures such as mask mandates, which he compared to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

“Don’t wear a mask if you don’t want to wear a mask,” Ortiz said during the interview, which was viewed more than 55,000 times on YouTube. “A mandate is a strong suggestion. It is not a law. Make them take you to jail. Stand up, and fight for your freedoms because this is all we have left. It scares me that people are willing to comply…that’s what the Jews did, and they got killed, man. It’s so scary. History is repeating itself right now, and people don’t see it because they think it is not going to happen here. It is happening, folks.

This is not the first time that Ortiz has relied on the Holocaust to argue against COVID-19 public health measures. In March 2021, Ortiz posted two anti-semitic images on his personal Instagram account while trying to argue against mask mandates. The first was a split image: the top half featured German soldiers giving Nazi salutes, while the bottom half showed two individuals wearing PPE masks along with the caption, “How could they all just comply? We would never do that. They must have been brainwashed.”

The second image, which was reposted from retired professional baseball player and anti-mask activist Aubrey Huff, was a cropped version of the London-based “Freedom for Humanity” mural, which attracted criticism as anti-semitic due to the stereotypical depictions of Jewish people. The mural depicts a group of me—some of whom were depicted to be Jewish—seated around a table under an Eye of Providence (the same symbol depicted on the United States one-dollar bill), playing a board game that rests on the backs of bent over naked figures. Ortiz posted the image along with the caption, “If the people stand…the game is over.”

The “Freedom for Humanity” mural was deemed anti-semitic due to the obvious stereotypes attributed to Jewish people, including the large, hooked noses, references to finances, and Masonic symbols such as the Eye of Providence, which became a popular symbol for the Illuminati, a term that conspiracy theorists have used in modern times to denote a secret society that controls and manipulates world events.

Ortiz, 46, isn’t the only former MMA fighter to rely on anti-semitic tropes. Gina Carano was fired from Disney’s hit show “The Mandalorian” after she posted a story on Instagram that seemingly compared living as a conservative in Biden’s America to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews,” read the IG story reposted by Carano. “How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

On July 27, 2021, the Center for Disease Control advised all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The CDC also advised students and staff at schools to wear masks during in-person classes and activities, especially as the Delta coronavirus variant continues to spread across the U.S.