New York City Mayor Eric Adams has doubled down on his comparison of an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor to a ‘plantation owner’ – while she hit back by slamming him for being ‘like Trump’.
Jeanie Dubnau clashed with the mayor at a townhall meeting Wednesday, where the two got into a tense back-and-forth when she pointed her finger at him in an argument about rental controls.
‘Don’t stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own,’ Adams said. ‘Give me the respect I deserve and engage in the conversation.’
Adams faced backlash for the outburst, but in remarks to 1010 WINS on Friday he insisted it was justified because ‘she was degrading’ to him.
Their war of words continued when Dubnau, a tenant’s rights activist, told NY Daily News that she felt Adams’ blowup made him appear ‘a little bit like Trump’.
Adams came under fire for comparing a critic to a ‘plantation owner’ at a townhall meeting
Jeanie Dubnau, 84, spoke out to express her anger over a decision to raise monthly payments on rent-stabilized apartments
Footage of the clash quickly circulated online, showing Dubnau interrupting Adams and slamming him for raising the rent in her area.
Adams then told the woman ‘I am the Mayor’ after she pointed her finger at him and questioned him. He then told those at the meeting that he doesn’t control the rent board, which introduced the hikes.
At that point, the camera panned around to show the angered woman admonishing him, saying: ‘You said before and after that you supported those rent increases.’
In response, Adams said: ‘If you’re going to ask a question don’t point at me and don’t be disrespectful to me. I’m the mayor of this city, treat me with the respect I deserve to be treated. I am speaking to you as an adult.
‘Don’t stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own. Give me the respect I deserve and engage in the conversation.
‘Don’t be pointing at me, speak with me as an adult because I’m a grown man. I walked into this room as a grown man and I’ll walk out of this room as a grown man.’
In a follow up interview, Adams defended his remarks and said Dubnau should have approached him in a less hostile manner.
‘My mom made it clear, never allow someone to be disrespectful to you. That woman disrupted a meeting where all the participants were acting respectfully and cordially to get their issues heard,’ Adams said.
‘She disrupted that, and then she was degrading on how she communicated with me. I’m not going to allow civil service to be disrespected, and I’m not going to be disrespected as the mayor of this city.’
Following the hostile meeting, it emerged that the 84-year-old was a tenants rights advocate whose family fled the Nazis.
Dubnau was born in Belgium shortly after her parents fled the Nazi regime in Germany. After hiding out in the European country throughout World War II, Dubnau and her parents emigrated to America and she has lived in the Big Apple ever since.
She became a volunteer tenant organizer in 1960, and now serves as the chairwoman of the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association.
Dubnau could be seen in footage from the community meeting pointing her finger at the mayor and critiquing the Rent Guidelines Board’s decision to raise monthly payment on rent-stabilized apartments
Adams told the meeting held on Wednesday night that while he appointed the board members, he had no sway over their decision
While Adams felt justified in his combative approach to Dubnau, the holocaust survivor hit out at him and branded him a liar.
‘He is a little bit like Trump in that way, by lying and by bringing up totally irrelevant things instead of answering questions,’ she said.
‘Trump is maybe even a bit more clever in how he does that … Eric Adams certainly tries to deflect whenever he doesn’t want to answer something.’
Dubnau said she attended the meeting ‘because I thought we’d have the opportunity to speak, which we did not, because the meeting was completely controlled by [Adams’] people.
‘And that’s why I had to stand up and spontaneously speak,’ the assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University continued to the New York Post. ‘We weren’t being called on. It was a person chosen by his people who were going to speak.’
Dubnau now says she will continue to call out Mayor Eric Adams ‘as much as I can.’
‘The main point is that the mayor has shown he’s an enemy of all the rent-stabilized tenants in New York City,’ she added.
The Rent Guidelines Board (pictured) comprises mayoral appointees
Dubnau’s remarks came in response to the Rent Guidelines Board voting to increase the rent for 1million rent stabilized apartments in New York City.
The panel, which is made up of mayoral appointees, approved increases of up to 6 percent on two year leases.
The increases would apply to leases issued or renewed from October through September 2024.
Quickly after the board shared their proposal, Adams issued a statement applauding the move, after initially pushing back when the board signaled hikes could be as high as 7 percent.
Last week he said: ‘I want to thank the members of the Rent Guidelines Board for their critically important and extremely difficult work protecting tenants from unsustainable rent increases.
‘Finding the right balance is never easy, but I believe the board has done so this year — as evidenced by affirmative votes from both tenant and public representatives.’