NYCLASS and PETA Demand Apology After Re-Releasing 2009 Video of Carriage Driver Calling Protester a Whore

Frank-Rodden-PETA.jpg
A still from the video.
The two most prominent animal rights groups pushing for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City are holding a press conference today, calling for an apology from a carriage driver who they say hurled "racist, sexist hate speech in Spanish at a Latina who merely expressed concern for his horse." According to a release, New York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez will join members of NYCLASS and PETA, the animal rights groups, on the steps of City Hall today at 1 p.m., asking the City Council to "demand a public apology from the carriage industry."

Their press release doesn't mention, however, that the incident they're referring to, between the carriage driver, who NYCLASS and PETA identify as Frank Rodden, and an anti-carriage protester named Claudia Rose Emerson, took place in 2009. The 45-second clip released by PETA earlier this week is part of a five-minute video released in 2009 by a group called Heart for Animal Rights.

The press release, issued by the public relations firm Goldin Solutions, which has been retained by NYCLASS, positions the incident as having occurred more recently, writing, "This is the second high-profile case of hate speech by carriage drivers. In 2012, Speaker Christine Quinn rebuked the horse carriage industry after a driver was caught on video spewing anti-gay and racist slurs." Despite the wording of the release, Goldin Solutions maintains that it was not attempting to characterize the 2009 incident as having taken place recently.

"The Village Voice's inaccurate and irresponsible inference is not at all the implication of what we sent," John Eddy, a company spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to the Voice. The entire press release can be read here.

It also includes a copy of a letter sent earlier this week to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, asking "that the City Council take action against Rodden's hateful speech by demanding a public apology from the carriage industry."

In the 45-second video released by PETA, the man identified as Rodden calls Emerson a whore in Spanish ("puta") and tells her to "return to your country and give food to the children in the streets, please." Later, in English, he asks if she's married with children or "barren," adding, "Are you barren? Childless? Lonely?" Referring to another protester standing nearby, he adds, "This one might have six or seven kids. What can I tell you?" Rodden, 51, is one of several carriage drivers who co-own the Clinton Park Stables, the city's largest stable.

Here's that video:

(The subtitles provided by PETA are accurate.)

Heart for Animal Rights has disabled embedding on the five-minute video, but you can watch it here. There's no question it's the same incident.

When the Voice asked NYCLASS spokesperson Allie Feldman when the video was shot, she confirmed that it is from 2009.

So why ask for an apology now, five years later?

"After years of Frank Rodden hurling racist, sexist comments, Claudia didn't want to publicly identify herself till now," Feldman replied. "When Frank, who co-owns the most prominent carriage stable, started publicly portraying himself as an ambassador for the industry, posing with Liam Neeson and claiming he's a blue collar family man."

A spokesperson for the carriage industry, Christina Hansen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Voice. In the past, however, she has said that other anti-carriage videos released by PETA contain "old, tired, and false material."

Update, 3 p.m.: Edita Birnkrant, the director of another animal rights group, Friends of Animals, writes to say that the carriage drivers have a pattern of bad behavior. She disputes that the age of the videos is an issue. "I think the date of these events are irrelevant because we're showing a pattern of fairly recent, consistent behavior and incidents in which this constant disrespectful, abusive behavior was captured on camera," she says.

More from Birnkrant on the following page, as well as statements from carriage industry spokersperson Christina Hansen and the Teamsters union, which represents many of the drivers.


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21 comments
birdandhorselady
birdandhorselady

PeTA is sociopathic anyway, so they can be ignored, and NYCLASS is composed of AR-brainwashed, socially deficent, and greedy-gut investors---in what alternate reality do they deserve an apology? So it's okay to harass, heckle and call carriage drivers names, but not okay if the carriage drivers (after YEARS of harassment and disrespect) snap back? Only in the la-la land of the animal rights brainwashed and mentally unstable. 

rheadtop
rheadtop

These Animal Rights groups, get over it. You do more and say more vile things online, in your attacks on persons and their property and when you think your alone with the accused and even in public.  When you point one finger at someone three more are pointing back at you.

Commenting_Maria
Commenting_Maria

Remember when NYCLASSer Roxanne Delgado was charged with physcially attacking a Latino carriage driver and then "someone" called immigration and had the poor guy deported?


http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/08/horse_carriage.php


LOL this could go on and on...like I said, bad behavior on both sides, but the animal rights extremists will never cop to their part in it.


That was more recent than 2009, eh?

Commenting_Maria
Commenting_Maria

These protesters stand there jeering, screaming and threatening the drivers and tourists for hours on end.  Why do none of the anti-carriage videos ever show the entire dialogue, ie, the segment that came before the bad language?


Here's WPIX news video of a carriage passsenger saying the protestors made her six year old cry:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afFM5D-ptqs


There is bad language & bad behavior on both sides.  That's politics in NYC, folks. The anti-carriage are hardly morally superior to anyone.

joanpilgrim67
joanpilgrim67

If this is how badly he treats people, imagine how terribly he treats his horses.

evbrunette7
evbrunette7

@Anonymous1 Fantastic. Should be sent along to every NYC Council member so they know what kind of fair, gentle, open-minded people they are dealing with. 

felk8705
felk8705

@evbrunette7 This woman endorsed the killing of healthy carriage horses if it would"save" others "in the future".

felk8705
felk8705

@evbrunette7 That's how despicable the protestors are, yet they expect the drivers to just take their lies and abuse shouted at the top of their lungs in public without reacting at all.  This has been going on for years.

felk8705
felk8705

@joanpilgrim67 What would you do if someone wanted to take food out of your childrens mouths, and called you an abuser, when the evidence that you are not an abuser is standing there beside you, big as life?

evbrunette7
evbrunette7

@joanpilgrim67 Did you read the whole story? How would you feel if someone told you they hoped your first child would be "born dead"?


evbrunette7
evbrunette7

@felk8705 @Commenting_Maria Agreed, I want an apology for their many online references to "Irish thugs" and "Irish Mafia" and "drivers from Third World countries." That's racist hate speech, right?

evbrunette7
evbrunette7

@joanpilgrim67 I'd bet he treats his horse fine -- horses tend to be kinder and more generous than people.


evbrunette7
evbrunette7

@joanpilgrim67 Check out the screen shot just posted -- if this is how these people treat other people, imagine how terribly they treat their pets. Or does that logic only work in your favor?

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