Running for office in the Big Apple is tough business, and Andrew Yang is quickly finding out just how tough. The front-runner mayoral candidate is taking heat after he was seen in a now-viral video, interacting and laughing with a group of men after one made misogynistic remarks. In the clip, the 46-year-old is first asked whether a guy, "while he's f---ing b----es," can keep his Timberland boots on. Yang is seen placing his hand on the shoulder of the laughing man who asked the question and replying, "I think it's purely up to your partner, right?" The questioner then asks, "Do you choke b----es, Andrew Yang?," at which point the group, including Yang, bursts out laughing. He starts to back away while signaling to the camera to cut. His reaction is now facing backlash, including from his competitors. "You don't use that word ... it is not funny, we do not laugh, we do not turn our backs and walk away," candidate Maya Wiley said during a Zoom presser Thursday, per WABC.
Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW New York, agrees. "He isn't winning the hearts and minds of women here in New York City by laughing at misogynistic jokes," she notes, per Politico. Others are calling his behavior "disqualifying." Yang told reporters Thursday he was simply trying to be "friendly," but when the man "said something that was plainly inappropriate that I didn't find funny at all ... I walked away and ended the interaction as quickly as possible." He added he was "shocked and surprised" that the conversation took that turn. While WABC notes it's not clear how much the video will ultimately impact the mayoral race, the New York Daily News reports Yang also took flak Thursday from rival Eric Adams, president of the Brooklyn Borough, for being "privileged" for focusing on the issue of parking placard abuse instead of more pressing matters like crime. "I think New Yorkers sense that we have the capacity to do multiple things at once," was Yang's response. (Read more Andrew Yang stories.)