NEW YORK - A video from inside a bagel shop on the Lower East Side captured a disturbing incident of a woman without a mask using racist slurs at a worker behind the counter.
Jack Weil, who captured the video at Essex Market on Sunday morning, said the incident was upsetting. He said the woman, who had four children with her, became belligerent because the worker told her she needed to put on a mask before ordering. But she refused and then called the employee a racist slur and yelled at other workers and customers.
On Wednesday, the store employee, who identified himself only as Vic, told FOX 5 NY that he was trying to defuse the situation and that he was about to offer the woman a mask when she lashed out.
"I felt the damage and I felt bad. I felt disappointed that she said that to me — as a Black man," Vic said. "She was very defensive and angry. She replied with anger and with hate."
The woman defended herself on what appears to be one of several Instagram accounts linked to her saying that not giving her the bagel was an infringement of her rights. She also insisted that one word in a verbal fight is not the end of the world. She posted religious passages and said she can't be racist because her children are biracial.
A spokesperson for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the market, said "hate has no place" in the city or in the properties it manages.
"The customer who perpetrated this incident was repeatedly asked to leave the facility and did so as we were notifying the NYPD," spokesperson Chris Singleton said in an email to FOX 5 NY. "We have reached out to the impacted vendor and security team to offer our support and commitment to ensuring a safe environment at the Market."
FOX 5 NY managed to find Denaro, and ask her if she is sorry for her behavior.
"It's not my concern what other people think," Denaro said. "I'm not apologizing to a mob."
Standing in the doorway of her Lower East Side apartment, the mother of four held her youngest child as she insisted she's not a racist because her children are biracial.
"I don't see why I would be attracted to a black man if i was a racist," Denaro said.
She's not acknowledging the insensitivity of the words, especially to a child's ears. Instead, she says she meant it in a different way.
"I called him a phrase for his behavior. For how he was acting," Denaro said.
Denaro said the real problem is rules about wearing masks.
"I'm not going to do that," she said.
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