BERKELEY (CBS SF) – A former New York Times journalist who dropped out of the main stream and spent years on the streets of Berkeley as the famed ‘Hateman’ has died. He was either 81 or 82.
According to a Facebook post by the advocacy group – Disabled People Outside Project – Mark Hawthrone died over the weekend at Berkeley’s Alta Bates Medical Center.
Hawthorne quit his job at the New York Times in the 1970s and came west to California. He settled into the street community in Berkeley and became famous for greeting people by saying “I hate you” instead of “hello.”
His gospel of anti-goodness was very simple – by acknowledging hate it dissipates and goes away.
When asked if he was crazy? Hawthorne responded.
“Certainly by ordinary standards,” he said.
When asked about sleeping next to a Dumpster, he said: “I just think of it as a house with a large wastebasket.”
But for all those in People’s Park who knew him — and bummed cigarettes from him — there is sadness with his passing.
“He said, ‘I’m a lot like Jesus. I don’t dispense miracles, but I dispense cigarettes and I’ll listen to your problems,'” explained a fellow denizen of Peoples Park who calls himself “Sasquatch” and said he was a close friend of Hate Man.
Sasquatch became so close that Hate Man called him his nephew. He said the man’s quiet wisdom was hidden by his phony gruff exterior and his delight in using the “f-word.”
“Like, ‘Can I have a cigarette, Hate Man?’ ‘You gotta tell me [expletive] you Hate Man, give me a cigarette!’ Alright?” said Sasquatch.
Because he spoke their language, Hate Man could talk people off drugs and young girls off the streets without ever judging anyone.
According to the Facebook post by Dan McMullan, founder of Disabled People Outside Project, the aging Hawthorne likely became a victim of the cold, wet winter this year.
“Even though Hate Man was up in years, he was pretty strong,” McMullan wrote on Facebook. “But I watched this year’s wicked weather take a lot of our older citizens. Every year I have an urgency to get some kind of cover to people, but this was really bad.”
The post finished with – “The harsh world is not just what we see on TV — it goes on right under our noses in the dark of night, right around the corner.”
A small memorial sits where he used to camp. And amid the many scrawled “f-words” that have to be blurred out on television was a final message from Sasquatch, something he says Hate Man would have really hated.
“If I said, ‘I love you, Hate Man!’ he’d be like, ‘[expletive] you!'” said Sasquatch with a laugh.