The progressive darling city council candidate to succeed term-limited Robert Cornegy Jr. in Bedford-Stuyvesant continues to receive backlash and anger over a series of derogatory Tweets he made against the Muslim and Christian faiths as well as women.
As first reported in the New York Post, Candidate Chi Ossé, 23, issued the following on his campaign Twitter feed:
“Bro…your girl smells like a halal cart”.
In another 2019 tweet, Ossé wrote that “rumor has it” that then-15-year-old British actress Millie Bobbie Brown can “fit 37 pistachios up her ass.”
He also tweeted, “Knocked over one of those Jesus worshippers on the subway this morning…feeling random and sinful”.
The district is home to the Masjid At-Taqwa, one of the largest and most prominent mosques in the borough, and has numerous Arab-owned businesses. Additionally, there are dozens of Churches – mainstay institutions in Black-American neighborhoods – in the district.
When the Post contacted Ossé about the missives he blamed youthful indiscretions and condemned the Tweets before taking them down. PoliticsNY has also received a half dozen other Tweets, also taken down, where he issues derogatory comments against the LBGTQ+ community, police and people suffering from mental illness, among others.
His campaign did not return emails from PoliticsNY seeking further comment.
Ossé is the only candidate in 36th City Council District race to receive the endorsement from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s Courage to Change PAC as well as from progressive Comptroller Candidate Brad Lander, the Working Families Party and numerous other stalwart progressive organizations.
Prominent Arab-American activist, Dr. Debbie Almontaser, the CEO of the Bridging Cultures Group – an organization formed to dismantle stereotypes through training and consultative services – found the revelations deeply offensive.
“The tweet found by the NY Post is outrageous! Though you explained you were young and now condemn it, that is not enough! You owe the American Muslim community an apology,” Almontaser tweeted. “A prominent mosque in NYC is in your district. Shameful.”
Osse retorted that “[the tweet] is an immature inside joke that the right (the post) is trying to use to drag AOC.”
Meanwhile, rival candidates Tahirah A. Moore and Henry Butler – both of whom grew up in public housing and have distinguished records serving the district – said they were shocked by the tweets.
“The communities deserve an apology. If you want to be a leader in the community, and you’ve done or said something that is harmful, your first inclination should always be to apologize,” said Moore, the former Brooklyn Borough Director in the NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and who was instrumental in getting a community center in NYCHA’s Marcy Houses where she grew up.
Moore, the only woman candidate in the race, called for a corrective conversation with Osse and the community, and that ignoring it is unfair to women in her area, and that a lack of scrutiny of his actions shows a disconnect between elements of the Democratic Party.
“I’ve always thought that there’s a little bit of a divide between the progressive community and the mainstream black community,” Moore said. “I’m not a progressive, I’m a serious progressive. And that means there’s a difference, right.”
Butler said the tweets speak for themselves and there is no room in his or any city council district for what was tweeted.
“We cannot tolerate anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, and sadistic comments about teenage girls,” said Butler.
Early voting for all the primary races will continue this week until Sunday. The regular Primary Election Day is this coming Tuesday, June 22.
-Additional reporting by Stephen Witt