What could go wrong when a politician donates free Kool-Aid, KFC fried chicken, and watermelon at a campaign rally in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City? A lot, apparently.
Republican Jon Girodes — who is hoping to represent the 30th District in the New York State Senate — sparked a storm of criticism after offering racially stereotyped refreshments and foods at a campaign event in Harlem, a majority black New York City neighborhood located in the 30th District.
“PS I'm hosting an event in Harlem which will be in front of the state building in a few weeks,” Girodes wrote in an email to supporters. “We will [donate] Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons to the public on 125th street in Harlem. Please join us to help the community.”
Naturally, his food faux-pas was not well-received:
…KFC? lol he needs to update his racism. Can I get some Popeyes at least?! https://t.co/pHmV1alNmF
— |K I Y O| (@KiyoDandre) October 13, 2016
Harlem, of course, is a majority black neighborhood, and watermelons and fried chicken are two foods that are... https://t.co/ky35J8cAtc
— Dee Dixon (@PDeeDixon) October 13, 2016
In response, the politician defended his actions:
“What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor,” Girodes told NBC. “Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”