A video of an awkward interaction between Andrew Yang and a New Yorker threatens to derail his campaign to become New York City’s next mayor.
The video shows Yang asking questions from a man about sexual situations, but it ends after the man asks Yang if he chokes “bitches.”
Critics of Yang say that he should not have laughed at the man’s misogynist statement, despite his immediate motion to end the video.
“Can a man keep his Timbs on?” asks the man, referring to Timberland, the popular boot brand.
“Can a man keep his Timbs on?” Yang responds, puzzled.
“Yeah, while he’s f***ing bitches, can a man keep his Timbs on?” the man repeats emphatically.
“I think it’s purely up to your partner, right? I mean if your partner is cool with it,” Yang responds.
“That’s what I’m saying!” the man responds.
“Do you choke bitches, Andrew Yang?!” the man asks, laughing.
That video has become a headache for Yang’s campaign after his critics pounced on it to accuse him of being a sexist.
“You don’t use that word! And absolutely you do not get to engage in that behavior,” said Maya Wiley, another mayoral candidate, to WABC-TV. “It is not funny! We do not laugh! And we do not turn our backs and walk away!”
A small group of progressive elected women penned a letter of outrage in response to the video.
“We couldn’t believe our eyes or ears. When Andrew Yang was asked by supporters about violently assaulting women, he responded by laughing. But this isn’t a laughing matter,” the letter read.
The letter goes on to say the incident is the latest in incidents involving Yang that involve “toxic masculinity, misogyny, and bro-culture.”
The campaign has responded to the outrage, saying in part, “The video simply reflects a quick awkward moment… when Yang was trying to be nice to someone on the subway he didn’t know.”
Yang also addressed the controversy.
“I think most New Yorkers know that I try to be friendly to people, and in this case someone wanted a video and I thought I’d be friendly,” Yang said. “He said something that was plainly inappropriate that I didn’t find funny at all and so I walked away.”