After nearly five days of silence since Sheepshead Bites first reported on the mailing of thousands of campaign fliers in which Assembly candidate Ben Akselrod claimed crime is up in the “negrohood,” the candidate behind the mailer has issued an apology calling the comment a “typo.”
Akselrod sent out the following statement yesterday evening:
I was deeply saddened and troubled to learn that a mailer sent out recently by my campaign for New York State Assembly, contained a typo which could be misconstrued as a racial slur. As the candidate, I take full responsibility for this inadvertent error and I am sorry to anyone who was offended by it.
For the record, to accuse me or my campaign of intentionally using racially inflammatory language is an insult. As a person who faced the scourge of discrimination for being born Jewish in the Soviet Union, I reject any form of racial and ethnic bias. I have always stood strongly and proudly for combating discrimination against any individual, irrespective of gender, race or religion.
It is very unfortunate that instead of focusing on the real problems of our neighborhoods, supporters of my opponent are focusing their energy on looking for orthographical errors and typos in our press releases and mailings. The facts are clear: this year, crime rate in the 61st Precinct went up dramatically and the current Assemblyman did nothing to stop this dangerous crime wave. This is the issue we should be talking about. By refusing to debate me, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz is denying voters an opportunity to hear firsthand about our differences and to make an educated choice on September 13.
Neighbors around the district received the mailer on Thursday, August 23. After our report on Friday, the campaign treasurer for Friends of Ben Akselrod contacted us, saying he never gave permission for his address to be used in the flier. He resigned Monday evening.
Ben Akselrod faces off against Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in the Democratic primary on September 13. The winner will face a challenge from Republican Russ Gallo in November.
CORRECTION (11:58 p.m.): Speaking of typos, the original version of this story introduced Akselrod as “Assemblyman Ben Akselrod.” We meant to write “Assembly candidate Ben Akselrod.” The post has been updated.