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Mayor Adams accuses women of treating him like a slave for confronting him about rent prices: 'The plantation that you own'
Image source: YouTube screenshot

Mayor Adams accuses women of treating him like a slave for confronting him about rent prices: 'The plantation that you own'

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) compared an elderly constituent to a racist plantation owner on Wednesday.

During a "Talk with Eric" event held at a Washington Heights school, an older woman berated Adams about skyrocketing rent in the city. Just last week, the city's Rent Guidelines Board voted to permit up to 6% rent hikes on the city's rent-stabilized apartments.

Less than 15 minutes into the event, the woman accused Adams of having "raised the rent." He called her out, asked her to stand up, and denied having control over the Rent Guidelines Board (which is disputed). But the woman did not buy his deflection.

After explaining that nearby counties did not experience the same rent increases, the woman asked, "Why are we having these horrible rent increases, this year and last year?"

"You said before and after that you supported those rent increases!" she pointed out.

But instead of addressing the substance of her concern, Adams attacked the woman for using her finger to talk — as many incensed people do — and accused her of treating him like a slave.

"First, if you're going to ask a question, don’t point at me and don't be disrespectful to me. I'm the mayor of this city, and treat me with the respect which I deserve to be treated [with]. I'm speaking to you as an adult," he chided.

"Don't stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own," he continued. "Give me the respect I deserve and engage in a conversation. Up here in Washington Heights, treat me with the same level of respect I treat you. So don't be pointing at me, don't be disrespectful to me, speak with me as an adult because I'm a grown man. I walked into this room as a grown man, and I'm going to walk out of this room as a grown man."

Adams' response drew applause, but it's not clear how the woman was being disrespectful aside from interrupting him, which initiated the interaction. And it's certainly not clear what prompted the comparison to a plantation owner, other than the woman being white — a biological characteristic over which she has no control.

According to the New York Post, the woman is Jeanie Dubnau. She works as an assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University and has lived in New York City for over 50 years.

Those who know her said she is a housing-rights activistwith a history of confronting mayors about fair housing — and is definitely not racist.

The mayor's office is standing by Adams' response.

"The mayor's comments are the mayor's comments. We stand by the mayor's comments," said city hall press secretary Fabien Levy.

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