Public hearings debating the pros and cons of Boston's embattled bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics have become increasingly bitter, and the gap between opponents and supporters appears to be widening.

Meetings have featured profanity and shouting matches and the issue is rife with online venom.

People in both camps say they're enduring vitriol on a scale some liken to tensions during court-ordered public school desegregation in the 1970s.

Regardless of whether the bid advances, some say the acrimony represents a new low in a city where political disagreement long has been a blood sport.