Last week, after a video of a Brooklyn man mocking a Hasidic boy’s hairstyle went viral on Twitter, local officials were quick to condemn the incident as hateful anti-Semitism. Now, the video’s author has offered a sincere apology and the Jewish community of Brooklyn has responded with forgiveness.
The video, which has now been taken down, had over 100,000 likes on Twitter and was shared thousands of times on Facebook. In the video, Quaishawn James approaches a Jewish boy and says, “I’d be crying if I looked like that, too, bro… that’s f–ked up what they be doing to you.” The little boy quietly stares at the man and then walks away.
The video also received strong reactions from elected officials.
District 39 Council Member Brad Lander called it “gross viral anti-Semitism” and tweeted that he was “honored to represent thousands of Hasidic Jews. Smart & funny & pious & deeply committed to values. Critical to push back against this small-minded & dehumanizing hate.”
District 44 Council Member Kalman Yeger reported the video on Twitter and said, “Disgusting. Only the most vile antisemitic animals would think this is funny.”
Then just two days ago, James posted a new video on Twitter. This time, he apologized to the young boy.
“I never meant for anybody to get hurt, or for this to be taken the wrong way. It was just a joke, and I’m sorry; like I’m truly sorry. I think about it every day now,” he said. “That was just me being real immature. That was one of the most immature videos I probably ever recorded.”
He said he certainly didn’t have anything against Jewish people, nor did he mean to be anti-Semitic.
“I have friends who are Jewish, my babysitter growing up was Jewish,” he said. “They’ve been through too much. We’ve been through as much as they’ve been through. They’ve been through worse.”
His sincere apology lightened the hearts of those who were disappointed after watching his initial video. Lander was “especially angry about all the people who ‘liked’ it on Twitter or Facebook, as though somehow anti-Semitism/anti-Hasidic bias was funny or OK in any way,” he tweeted.
The NYC Jewish Caucus also accepted James’ apology and thanked Lander.
Councilmember Kalman Yeger offered to have James walk the streets of Borough Park with him, an offer it appears James has accepted.
This is not the first time the Jewish community were victims of anti-Semitism. Just last month, there were two attacks on Jewish men in Crown Heights. At the time, Comptroller Scott Stringer said, “In the past year, anti-Semitic incidents rose in New York State by 90 percent.”
We reached out to James for comment but did not hear back.