New York state assembly staffer spreads xenophobic message


A New York State assembly employee has been slammed for sharing a 'xenophobic' Facebook message urging people to avoid Chinese businesses amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Marilyn Franks, a receptionist in Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus' Coney Island office, shared the message which claimed owners of restaurants and shops had returned from China 'bringing along the coronavirus'.

The message also urged others to spread the word to 'keep our people from this deadly virus.'

'We urge citizens to stay away from Chinese supermarkets, shops, fast food outlets, Restaurant, [sic] and Business,' the message read. 

'Most of the owners went back to China to celebrate the Chinese New [Year] Celebrations,' it continues. 

'They are returning and some are bringing along the coronavirus. Rather be safe than sorry.' 

A campaign group for Chinese workers in New York has since blasted the comments as 'divisive'. 

Zishun Ning of the Chinese Staff and Workers' Association said: 'It's a very divisive message and doesn't help at all fighting the virus'.

'The most important task right now is to fight the disease instead of blaming it on a certain group, which doesn't make sense at all.' 

Ms Frontus, who is based in Brooklyn, has since apologised for her employee's statement, noting it had been part of a chain message which was forwarded.

'I apologize for the harm this caused,' the assemblywoman said in a statement. 'This message violates the core values of my office, and this staffer has been warned and ordered to desist, and will complete additional cultural sensitivity training.

'Crisis can bring out latent fears and prejudices, but that is when it is most important for us to come together. Ignorance is no excuse for spreading hateful messages,' she added.

New York confirmed its first coronavirus case on Sunday as a female healthcare worker in her 30s who returned from Iran last week and is now being quarantined in her Manhattan home. 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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