NY Senate Candidate Offers Fried Chicken and Watermelon at Harlem Event

New York Senate hopeful Jon Girodes promised fried chicken, watermelon, and Kool-Aid at a campaign event in Harlem

“There was nothing offensive about the planned event,” Girodes said in response to the backlash.

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:

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.”