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.

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  • a good neighbor

    well, if someone ran a spell check this wouldn’t have happened at all. the lack of attention to details reflects on his capability to represent us in the future. 

    hack, if i type something wrong on this site it would highlight the misspelled word. what did they use? typewriter? :)

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      It was inserted as an afterthought.There are two spaces between “the” and “negrohood”. Hardly a simple typo. Neighborhood and negrohood are spelled quite differently.

      • tim goog

        Sounds like deliberate sabotage. I must say it’s pretty effective and with no obvious criminality involved. 

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          They wanted to send a message that Askelrod shares their concerns about crime coming from the projects, aka the “negrohood” to the bigots.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    People have been insulted by this piece of literature. Askelrod is now sounding like he is the victim. Instead of being apologetic he goes on the offensive. One can come from an oppressive background and still hold racist or other discriminatory views.

    Mr Askelrod, have you no shame?

    • WhoDatNow

      Remember, Davey Babes: Odessa is on da BLACK Sea! mMmm Hmmm…dat’s raht, huh-neeeeh!!!!!!

  • common_senser

    This sounds too egregious to be intentional..

  • A2

    Negrohood is the right term. He deserves being elected just for understanding and correctly defining the real problem. The negrohood needs to be converted back to neighborhood.

    • Vik

      “Converted back” how?

      • A2

        By giving Nostrand projects appartments to people. And I mean it — PEOPLE

        • Vik

          They already have people leaving in them.  If you do not see that then you do not know meaning of the word “people”.  As per wikipeadia, it is “a plurality of persons considered as a whole, as in an ethnic group or nation”.  If you do not know what “persons” are – feel  free to educate yourself here:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person

          • A2

            I wish they were people. We wouldn’t have shottings every week and crime rate going up like crazy. So don’t try to be a smart ass, even though I’m glad you know how to use wiki.

          • levp

            Just making sure that you, in fact, are David Duke.

  • guest

    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.

    Except against Blacks & Muslims?
    Your own treasurer doesn’t trust you, Akselrod, and your lack of sensitivity for the people you offended reflects the type of representative you would be.

    http://i.imgur.com/Cj0vt.png

  • RCALIE2367

    This was no typo error and put in intentionally.  How do you confuse negrohood with neighborhood?  Too many letters missing and this was an intentional wording in the mailer.  Mr. Akselrod is just as prejudiced as someone born in the U.S. who develops his prejudice and Akselrod is pulling the David Storobin act when he ran against Lew Fidler.   

  • Pingback: Orthographic Misstep Disrupts Political Campaign - NYTimes.com

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    One more thing. Askelrod is certainly not the brightest crayon in the pack. Waiting this long to issue a statement kept this story current for a longer period of time. People are more likely to remember, and some will wonder why he took so long to respond.

  • Yoytu

    The top of that flyer also has a “typo” It says Sheephead Bay instead of Sheepshead Bay.

  • AssassinNeko

    they spelled “create” wrong too
    left side it says “Creat Jobs”

  • Sueyellin

    besides being a racist statement,I was puzzled by the phrase (focusing their energy on looking for orthographical errors and typos in our press releases and mailings.)so I looked it up.result:  

    We couldn’t find a direct definition for the term orthographical.
    Maybe you were looking for one of these terms?
    orthogonal, orthogonal opposition, orthogonality, orthographic, orthographic projection, orthography, orthohepadnavirus, orthokeratologic procedures, orthomolecorthomolecular therapy
    … or search for orthographical inside other dictionary definitions.
    Search inside

  • Eric

    “I am fighting… to cut down on anti-semitic attacks in our community”. So it was him all along? Please Mr. Askerold stop your antisemitic violence when you are elected.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

    Dividing your constituency? This and his prior actions pretty much disqualify his claim.

    @300d3300610d27cd80baafe452d5c1c5:disqus - I’d say what he probably means, but children might read this forum…you might have figured it out already. This flier has “C’mon man!” written all over it.

  • http://antsrants.wordpress.com/ Ant’s Rants

    I’m no stranger to typos and can safely say that “negrohood” isn’t one. Even the fattest of fingers couldn’t pound out a slip like that with letters on opposite ends of the keyboard. Nor would the world’s worst speller come up with that one. Whether it’s openly racist or the product of a Freudian slip hardly seems relevant. Racial bias on any level is disgraceful and has no place in the heart of community leaders.