NYC Mayor Adams sparks controversy for calling white Rutgers professor ‘plantation owner’

Professor Jeanie Dubnau is white, while Adams is Black. She was addressing Adams during a discussion about rent increases in New York City.

Matt Trapani

Jul 3, 2023, 10:30 PM

Updated 348 days ago

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams is sparking controversy after he called a Rutgers University professor a “plantation owner” during a Q and A event.
Professor Jeanie Dubnau is white, while Adams is Black. She was addressing Adams during a discussion about rent increases in New York City. Adams apparently did not like the way she addressed him.
"OK, 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 that I deserve to be treated. I'm speaking to you as an adult. Don't stand in front like you're treating someone that's on the plantation that you own. Give me the respect I deserve and engage in the conversation,” Adams said during the meeting.
Dubnau has been a professor of microbiology at Rutgers for more than 20 years. She also volunteers with a housing rights group.
She says that she is glad that the exchange is going viral.
"If it damages Mayor Adams, good. That's what we need to do. We need to damage him because the more people that know about what he does and how he is attacking, basically, an attack against poor and working-class people all over the city,” she says.
She says while she was trying to make a point about rent in New York City, Adams comparing her to a plantation owner was simply a “deflection."
The New York City Mayor’s Office wrote in a statement, “These community conversations were created as a space where we could discuss different issues. That’s why the mayor asked this individual to stand up so she could speak her mind. To be clear, anyone who believes this mayor isn’t fighting for tenants hasn’t been paying attention.
This administration has invested more money for housing than any in New York City history. We’re advancing comprehensive plans to build more homes, faster, and across the city, which is the only way to truly solve the affordability crisis. And we’ve invested in efforts to protect tenants from eviction and expanded rental assistance.
The Rent Guidelines Board is tasked with making difficult decisions based on hard data and balancing the need to protect tenants with the need to provide small property owners — who have seen expenses go up by the most in two decades — with the revenue they need to make repairs and protect our housing stock.”


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