Former Commerce Director says his remarks are out of context | Local News

After resigning his role in allegations that he made anti-Semitic comments, former Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael A. Rashid said his remarks were out of context.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the 2nd, a former employee who claimed that Rashid had made anti-Semitic remarks, operated a “toxic” workplace and showed “hostility or neglect” to female employees. Later he resigned.

Former staff told Inquirer that Rashid called Steven Spielberg’s film “Jewish Propaganda” about the Holocaust “Schindler’s List.”

This situation stems from Rashid’s reference to the movie in October when he was talking to a group of business owners during Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week. In his speech, he talked about how Oskar Schindler saved more than 1,000 Jews by hiring them in enamel and ammunition factories during the Holocaust, and urged black business owners to give back to the community.

When Rashid returned to the office after the MED Week event on October 4, he spoke with staff about his speech and “Schindler’s List.” He told the staff that he initially resisted watching the movie for a long time. The movie was released in 1993 and he didn’t see it until 10 years later.

“She asked why,” he told the Philadelphia Tribune. “I told her a Jewish propaganda. She didn’t ask me what it meant. She said she had seen this movie a couple of times since then, it’s a great movie and That’s why we talked about it in today’s speech. “

Rashid later said he thought about a conversation with the staff and apologized to her the next day.

“I thought about my comment, but I felt it was insensitive. I shouldn’t have said it because people can take it the wrong way,” he explains. Did. “She said’no problem’, and that was the end of it.”

More than a month later, the staff later told Rashid that he would mention the comments to another employee and the situation was announced.

Reportedly, some people in Rashid’s department quit because he verbally abused the staff.

“He continues to lose employees, hollow out departments, and his anti-Semitic comments could eventually be published,” former communications director Taj McGruder said in November to Mayor Jim Kenny’s staff. He wrote to Chief of Staff Jim Engler and Mayor Spokesman Kevin Lessard. twenty two.

Rashid officially resigned on Sunday.

“We have accepted the resignation today in the light of Mr. Rashid’s inappropriate comments,” Kenny said in a statement. The business community at this critical time continues to recover from the catastrophic effects of a pandemic.

“The city is committed to ensuring a fair and comprehensive working environment in which the value of respect and dignity is supported,” he said.

Before Rashid resigned, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia called for him to be dismissed.

Mr. Rashid said he had met with the president of the Philadelphia Great Philadelphia Jewish Federation and apologized for his comments.

“I met him and said,’Listen when you say Jewish propaganda. I’m not a Holocaust denial,'” he explained. “There is no data to show that there was no Jewish Holocaust. It’s not where I came from.”

“Where did I come from? I represent a broad sector of the black community that feels this way here. Yes, there is a Holocaust against Jews and 6 million Jews have been killed. rice field.”

But he said much wasn’t told about the millions of blacks who came to the United States from Africa on slave ships and were killed.

“And while Germany has so much exposure to the Jewish Holocaust, so little to the general public about the Black Holocaust, many in the black community feel that it is being neglected.

“That’s where I was born,” he said. “I apologize for being out of context. I regret that it was used by those who brought beef with me to make it look like I was an anti-Semitic. , And I said it to the President of the Jewish Federation. “

Rashid, 74, was appointed Director of Commerce in November 2020. In his year at the city government, he worked with the city council. Lady, Set, Philly; Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Equity Alliance, etc. to make Philadelphia’s economy vibrant and inclusive.

Former Commerce Director says his remarks are out of context | Local News

Source link Former Commerce Director says his remarks are out of context | Local News

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