Playing the victim has become a powerful way to derail the life of someone you don’t like.
The video, posted to Twitter by Frederick Joseph, shows him and his fiancé arguing with the neighbor in a Williamsburg dog park on Saturday night.
At the dog park in Brooklyn with my fiancé and this white woman was threatening to call police and told us to “stay in our hood” because she had our dog confused with another dog who had been barking loudly. So, I started recording and she tried to slap the phone out my hand. pic.twitter.com/9MXwMiU3Qb
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) September 26, 2021
According to Joseph, who is black, the woman, who appears white, told the couple to “stay in your hood” after accusing his dog of barking, which he said was untrue.
- A man identified by CBS2 as Steve Tracy affirmed that the woman made the remark, which Joseph interpreted as racist.
- “She’s like, ‘You’re not from around here. Go back to your hood. Stay in your hood. Stay in your hood,’” Joseph told CBS2. “So I’m like, ‘Stay in my hood?’ Right, like? ‘You’re being racist right now,’ and she’s like, ‘I’m not being racist.’”
The 27-second clip has been viewed more than half a million times since Joseph posted it to Twitter the same night.
Back on Twitter Sunday, Joseph tagged the woman’s apparent employer in a post to his more than 100,000 followers in an attempt to pressure the company into firing her.
- Hours later, he announced that the company had terminated the woman and celebrated the “lesson in accountability and consequences.”
- “I hope that other people learn from this who engage in abusive, racist and destructive behavior,” he said in a video.
- But, Joseph said, the woman’s termination couldn’t “take away the trauma” experienced by him and his fiancé, nor could it erase the feeling that “anything racist can happen anywhere.”
WHO IS FREDERICK JOSEPH?
Joseph, the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person,” has built his brand on uncovering microaggressions – seemingly innocuous comments and gestures that express bigotry – that underpin American “white supremacy.”
So many white people and police officers in Harlem it doesn’t even feel comfortable.
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) August 27, 2021
Critics have accused Joseph of repeatedly using his high-profile perch on social media to sensationalize, mischaracterize or invent incidents to benefit himself and his preferred narratives.
#Barbershopgate: In February 2020, Joseph, then a surrogate for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic presidential campaign, was widely mocked for tweeting that “everyone” at a black barbershop was hyped about the Massachusetts senator.
Same energy pic.twitter.com/hBqYdPBzYB
— Alex (@AlexSheltman) February 21, 2020
Satanic AirBnb: Last September, Joseph ignited another viral controversy by complaining that AirBnb would not refund him for a stay at a house he claimed was littered with Satanic items.
- “I’m a private person,” the AirBnB host involved in the controversy told Vice last year. “I don’t post to my social media or what I’m doing with my friends, so to be thrust into this wild Twittersphere of misinformation and a story conceived completely out of context and taking wild liberties with his imagination about what this house is — the first little while, I was pretty shocked and upset.”
Racism is everywhere: Joseph’s Twitter timeline is rife with claims of alleged microaggressions – on elevators, airplanes, sidewalks and New York subway cars.
Seems to be an ongoing thing with him. pic.twitter.com/9ow8ZlqNmk
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) September 27, 2021
“This helped me realize that we’re not having nuanced and critical conversations about the daily manifestation of racism and white supremacy,” Joseph told The New York Times in December, referring to critics who challenged his interpretation of allegedly racist incidents on the subway.
Skeptics of Joseph’s dog park story cautioned against rushing to judgement, citing previous viral videos of supposed racism whose initial framing was later debunked — such as the Covington Catholic, Jussie Smollett and Amy Cooper controversies.
- “Our society has incentivized all the wrong behavior. He had a bad 2 min interaction with someone and his first thought is to try to make it go viral, track the person down, and get them fired from their job,” tweeted conservative commentator A.G. Hamilton.
- Some Twitter users highlighted the irony of Joseph’s past declaration, “Cancel culture isn’t real.”
- “Frederick Joseph has more power than this woman and is relishing in using it to ruin her life,” said one observer.