Let’s start by saying: this is not a joke.
As first reported by The New York Post. You just have to read it:
A rival of Melissa Mark-Viverito filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the front-runner for City Council speaker — claiming she put a Caribbean hex on her while the two were running for the same council seat, in the form of a black-magic mural on her building.
Gwen Goodwin, 52, who spectacularly lost the Democratic primary to Mark-Viverito in September, says her nemesis targeted her East 100th Street building as the canvas for a five-story image of a bodiless rooster atop wooden poles.
The head is just below the window of the apartment where Goodwin has lived since 1997.
This is the mural:
And this is the part of the lawsuit that has many people shaking their heads:
12. The mural depicted a decapitated and wooden-sword-stabbed bird of prey, on information and belief, and according to neighbors of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolize typically to many Jews or African Americans, respectively.
Did we just read that correctly?
But wait there’s more:
14.On information and belief, these reported facts establish that jointly and severally, the hired and funded creation of the subject mural was planned over months, deliberate and intentional on the part of both Defendants, jointly and severally, although on information and belief, Defendant MMV was the initiator.
15. Further, the intentional purpose of the subject mural was to inflict emotional distress on the Plaintiff. This reasonably and logically follows from the fact that the mural in no way contributed to electioneering or publicity for the Defendant’s campaign. It was not even as an explicit denunciation of the Plaintiff, which would entail a rationale of First Amendment protection under the United States Constitution and parallel provisions in the New York State and New York City law.
16. The mural did not call on anyone to vote for the Plaintiff. On the contrary, to the extent that people know who know that it was a project of and by the Defendant Melissa Mark- Viverito, on information and belief, it would, be a “turn-off” in the community, counterproductive to her attracting votes.
20. The frightening, scary, and perceived evil mural would certainly not be a capital improvement to its building. The Landlord would not be able to register the mural as an MCI.
21. On information and belief, the graffiti -like mural actually lowers the property value and put a downward pressure on prospective rents of apartments, the value of conversions, or sale price of the property.
This is the entire lawsuit:
This is what Goodwin told the Post:
“This is supposed to be a professional politician who came and graffitied the side of my building,” Goodwin told The Post.
“I really felt that people needed to understand who they were giving power to as the next most powerful person behind the mayor of New York City,” she said.
Yes, there’s even more:
“This intimated me and caused me fear. I’m a Christian. I don’t believe outside my religion, but strange things were happening,” Goodwin claimed.
She said that she suddenly got a blood clot in her foot and that a close friend began “acting crazy” right after the mural went up.
Guess Goodwin has not clue about actual cultural expressions? Here is what Eric Koch, a spokesperson for Mark-Viverito, told the Post:
“These desperate and ridiculous allegations by a failed political opponent of Melissa are false, absurd and a waste of the court’s precious time. It’s sad but expected that Melissa’s opponents are resorting to these kinds of tactics,” Koch said.
Only in New York.
UPDATE: Community leaders are calling this a “media hit job:”
Note: As predicted here, the media “hit jobs” on the candidacy of Melissa Mark Viverito for NYC Council Speaker are already intensifying. The latest, which appears in the city’s two major tabloids, takes seriously an outrageous accusation by a political rival that Mark Viverito put a curse on her! She is taking Mark Viverto to court claiming that she conspired with the Museo del Barrio to have a mural painted on her building in the image of a butchered chicken to fu fu her!
To be sure, this story is worthy of publication as a tongue-in-cheek example of the politically absurd, but as the two articles below illustrate, the Daily News and theNew York Post wrote this up as a serious story! It would appear that writers Barbara Ross, Corky Siemaszko and Julia Marsh would have viewed the 1987 movie, The Believers, starring Martin Sheen, as a documentary rather than the racist anti-Puerto Rican picture it was (Jimmy Smits gets killed in it).
In addition, they seamlessly weave in the implication that Mark Viverito received a subsidized city loan illegally when, as we explained earlier today, this was not the case! So a false accusation is added to the ridiculous charge of “Caribbean voodoo” to discredit Mark Viverito’s candidacy for Speaker. This has got to be major breach of journalistic ethics. Maybe the New York Press Club has some sort of ethics committee that can look into this. Hey, maybe the Latino community should write to their President, Larry Seary, about this at email@example.com?
Both the New York Post and the Daily News owe not only Melissa Mark Viverito, but the whole Puerto Rican and Caribbean population of this city an apology for this disgusting stereotyping and partisan political reporting. As I keep saying, ¡Esta gente estan del carajo!