Stuart Seldowitz, a former White House advisor during the Obama administration, was arrested by the New York Police Department for verbally assaulting and harassing a food vendor with Islamophobic comments.
New York City Council Member Julie Menin reported that the suspect is in police custody and has been arrested. The arrest came after videos went viral on November 21, in which the former Obama aide is seen insulting and threatening a street food vendor of Egyptian origin, whose identity has not been revealed.
“UPDATE in Street Vendor Case in Our Community: The Suspect is in NYPD custody and has been arrested,” Menin wrote on her X account. “Thank you to NYPD 19th Precinct for their swift investigation. Hate and harassment have no place in our community.”
— Yesenia 🦋🌸 (@YeseRivero) November 23, 2023
NYPD announced in a statement that Seldowitz was arrested on charges of aggravated harassment, hate crime stalking, stalking causing fear, and stalking at a place of employment.
Breaking News: The NYPD tells @Documentedny that Stuart Seldowitz has been charged with Aggravated Harassment 2⁰Hate Crime/Stalking⁰Stalking, Cause Fear⁰Stalking, At Employment https://t.co/MI0fxfigBZ
— Amir Khafagy (@AmirKhafagy91) November 23, 2023
New York Attorney General Letitia James said on social media that the former White House official’s actions were “disgusting” and “odious.” “New York will not tolerate it,” she added. “We will not tolerate Islamophobia or any kind of hatred in our state.”
Seldowitz harrassed the vendor for days
NYC Council Member Menin stated that since the videos went viral on November 21, NYPD and the Hate Crimes Task Force actively started investigating the case.
In the videos, Seldowitz, former director of the National Security Council during the Obama administration, is seen harassing food vendors on a Manhattan sidewalk with insensitive comments towards the thousands of victims of the Israeli war on Gaza.
According to two food vendors consulted by the media outlet Documented, the harassment began on November 7, when Seldowitz approached Q Halal Cart, at the crossing of the 83rd and Second Avenue in Manhattan, and launched into a tirade attacking the victim’s faith and culture and accusing him of supporting terrorists.
In one of his exchanges with the vendor, the former Obama advisor is heard saying with a smirk on his face, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”
Seldowitz also referred to Egypt’s Mukhabarat intelligence service, telling the vendor that “they will go after your parents.” “Does your father like his nails? They will take them off one by one,” he warned.
In the video, the vendor is seen telling Seldowitz to “Go, go, go, go” and “I won’t hear it.” Seldowitz then responded, “But you’re a terrorist. You support terrorism.”
“This is New York”
In another video, Seldowitz is seen taking a photo of the vendor, asking him to “smile.” Then he asked, “Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad did?” He also called the vendor “ignorant” for not speaking English.
Seldowitz went on referring to the prophet of Islam as a “rapist.”
Sam and Mohamed, operators of the food cart, said that they were harassed by the former White House official. Mohamed was the one who managed to record the series of insults the man uttered against them.
Sam told Documented that, on Seldowitz’s third visit to the cart, he decided to call the police. “The police said ‘we can’t do anything, this is New York,'” he recounted.
A day before Seldowitz was arrested, his former employer, Gotham Government Relations, claimed that it had already “terminated all relations” with him, and that he had not worked there for years.
Seldowitz’s version of events
Seldowitz said in an interview with The New York Times that it all started after he had asked the vendor if he was Egyptian. As the conversation progressed, the man expressed support for Hamas, Seldowitz claimed, although none of the videos that have been made public contain such claims.
“At that point, I got pretty angry and said things to him that, in retrospect, I probably regret,” Seldowitz said. “Instead of focusing on him and what he said, I went on at length insulting his religion and so forth.”
When asked why he had continued to return to the food cart, Seldowitz commented that he had wanted to ask if the man was “still a Hamas supporter.” “I was upset that he was selling food in a New York City neighborhood,” he added.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
- scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/March 3, 2024