What to Know
- A New Jersey councilman is being condemned after using an anti-Semitic slur during a public meeting, then seemingly defending the comment
- Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson recalled talks with a contractor in which he appreciated the man not trying to "Jew us down"
- Jackson later apologized, then said it’s an expression that people have said in the past, so it's not so bad
A New Jersey councilman is being condemned after using an anti-Semitic slur during a public meeting — and then seemingly defending the comment.
Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson made the comment during a debate over a city project, where Jackson was calling back to a conversation he had with a developer.
“I said Mr. Developer, I respect you, I appreciate you for valuing our city, for offering the best possible price, for not trying to go backwards and Jew us down,” Jackson is seen on council video saying before all the other members of the council and the mayor.
The comments were immediately criticized, with the Paterson city administrator calling the comments “reprehensible.”
Jackson later apologized, saying it was “meant with no malice” and it was a statement he called “indicative of my upbringing.”
“I acknowledge the comment was in poor taste, that’s the reason for my automatic sincere apology,” Jackson told NBC New York Thursday night. “There’s no place for any type of racial bigotry or anti-Semitic commentary in our community.”
However shortly after he made the comment, Jackson went back to clarify what he said, and tried to make it appear as if what he said wasn’t so bad because it’s an expression that people have said in the past.
“To try to haggle, that’s a common statement that’s been made for years, for years,” Jackson said.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh told Jackson at the meeting that he did not feel the apology was sincere.
“You offended a lot of people. A lot of people. You may not know it — you’re smirking, which only adds insult to injury. And the BA asked you for an apology and you didn’t do that,” Sayegh said.
When asked if he had any response to the mayor calling his apology insufficient, Jackson told NBC New York he would not comment any further.