Two doormen were sacked after a man attacked an Asian woman on the sidewalk outside their apartment building at the end of March and, rather than intervening or going out immediately afterwards to help her, they closed the door .
The Brodsky Organization, which owns the condominium in question on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, laid off workers on Tuesday, saying in a media statement that “the required emergency and safety protocols were not followed” during the incident.
The company noted that a full video (rather than the shortest clip that went viral) showed the doormen exiting the building later to help the woman and report a police car.
The union that the gatekeepers were part of, SEIU 32BJ, confirmed the layoffs to HuffPost and said the two employees had started the process of filing a grievance contesting their dismissal.
The viral video of the incident shows a man violently attacking a woman – later identified as 65 years old Vilma Kari, who is Filipino – and kicking him in the face repeatedly. Police said the assailant had shouted anti-asian insults and said “you don’t belong here.”
In security footage, one of the doormen in the lobby of the building can be seen closing the door to the street after the assailant walks away and Kari is still on the ground. The workers were originally suspended after the video is released.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time that it was “absolutely unacceptable ”that the spectators did not intervene, adding, “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you have to help your fellow New Yorker.”
A suspect, Brandon Elliott, was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal assault as a hate crime, according to the police. Kari suffered serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis, and was released from the hospital, NPR reported.
The attack sparked outrage as anti-Asian racism spreads across the country. As of last year, Asian Americans have reported a rise in racist violence, often linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders increased by 150% in major American cities, according to a study. Stop AAPI Hate recorded a 3,795 alarming reports of racist violence against Asian Americans from early 2020 to early 2021. People were called racist slurs, spat and assaulted.
The former doormen’s union said it took “anti-Asian hatred and all forms of discrimination” seriously and noted that its members are overwhelmingly “immigrant workers, black and brown” who face “a much of the same racism and violence as our AAPI. neighbors ”do.
“All unionized workers, especially workers of color who are often treated unfairly at work, have a right to a fair process,” the union said.
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