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Confederate flag-toting Superman nearly pummeled at St. Cloud State

St. Cloud Superman sighting in 2008.

St. Cloud Superman sighting in 2008.

St. Cloud’s not-so-friendly neighborhood Superman is back, and exercising his free speech rights to the great irritation of passersby.

A video taken at St. Cloud State University last week shows sidewalk fixture John Fillah toting a giant Confederate flag and actively clashing with a student. It’s hard to tell exactly who started the beef, but the clip captures the student threatening, “Step off the curb. I don’t care how much you weigh. Call me another nigger again.”

Fillah has been floating around campus, and the nearby Division Street Dairy Queen for the past 20 years. He’s usually garbed in a muscled Superman costume, waving an American flag, says University spokesman Adam Hammer. It’s only in recent months that he’s gotten mean and ditched both in favor of plain clothes and a Confederate flag.

“Emotionally, it impacted some community members who experienced those antics,” Hammer says. “He’s kind of notorious in our community, but for the most part he’s kind of thought of just as an interesting character, mostly harmless, but really nobody knows.”

St. Cloud police are actively investing the videotaped incident to find out if Fillah said anything to intentionally rile passersby that would amount to disorderly conduct.

After 20 years of being a free speech nuisance, Fillah knows very well where to stand, Hammer says. St. Cloud State has a trespass order barring him from campus property and Dairy Queen has a restraining order preventing him from getting too close to the storefront, but beyond that St. Cloud just has to deal.

Back in 2009, Fillah picked up three misdemeanor charges for making gross spanking gestures in public, poking fun at another man's limp, and making harassing phone calls to the officer who cited him for disorderly conduct. A judge dropped the first two, reasoning that offended citizens could simply look away.