Jon Girodes, a Republican candidate running for a New York State Senate seat representing the 30th District in the November election, said in an email to NBC New York reporter, Sarah Wallace, that he would be handing out Kool-Aid, KFC, and watermelon at a campaign event in Harlem. The 39-year-old Girodes said he saw nothing wrong with his statement and he’s standing by what he said. In his email, he said “Ps I’m hosting an event in Harlem which will be in front of the state building in a few weeks. We will [donate] Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons to the public on 125th street in Harlem. Please join us to help the community.” This is Girodes’ second time running for the 30th District of New York Senate seat. On his campaign’s website, Girodes has an image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but since his comments have become public, his website has been taken down. Initially standing by his comments, Jon Girodes said, “What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor. Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”
As expected, Mr. Girodes vile and stereotypical comments were met with absolute disdain by people who live in Harlem, where the planned event was to be held. Tyrone Nero said, “It’s racist. Whoever he is, I think he should go back in whatever hole he crawled in and have a great life.” Another resident, Scott Randolph said, “It’s more than an insult and anybody with any sense would see that’s pathetically racist and insulting.” Jon Girodes’ opponent in the November election, Democratic New York State Senator Bill Perkins said, “I think it’s important to out [Girodes’ remarks] not just to denounce him but to set a tone in this neighborhood and in this city that this type of offense does not go unchallenged.” The New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee nor the party establishment in New York City has backed Jon Girodes’ campaign and a senior GOP official said, “We are not supporting him. He’s not a real candidate.”
Mr. Girodes’ comments came to light after NBC 4 New York’s I-Team contacted him in regards to complaints about a real estate deal involving the rental of his luxury apartment on 42nd Street. That is when Mr. Girodes responded to their inquiry and told them about his planned campaign event.