Jennifer L. Pozner Profile picture
Media critic, journalist. #Medialiteracy Anti-racist feminist. Author, Reality Bites Back; Breaking (the) News. Founder, WIMN. Speaking: @CCMNTspeakers She/Her

Jun 29, 2018, 22 tweets

1. Welp, so much for #civility: LET'S MAKE THIS GUY FAMOUS. Last night, at a French bistro in NYC, I got into it with this old white man in an American flag t-shirt who loudly "joked" to the waitress, "I'm going to tell Trump to deport you, hahaha, I'll tell Trump to deport you!"

2. I said (in a firm, calm voice), "Sir, that isn't funny and it's not ok. Don't joke about deporting people," that his waitress didn't deserve that treatment. He began screaming at me, "IT WAS A JOKE!" I said it wasn't funny but dangerous, that he shouldn't talk to ppl like that

3. Mr Civility, screaming, staring me down, irate: "DON'T TALK TO ME! YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO TALK TO ME! WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULD TALK TO ME!?"

Me: "Well, don't threaten to deport people and I wouldn't have to talk to you."

Woman with him tells him to stop it;he continues.

4.Other ppl in the restaurant now look uncomfortable, but no one's saying anything except his female companion who keeps saying, "Stop it. Be quiet." He ignores her. #MrCivility starts screaming, "YOU'RE THE PIECE OF SHIT! YOU'RE A PIECE OF SHIT! DON'T TALK TO ME, PIECE OF SHIT!"

5. #MrCivility: "YOU'RE A PIECE OF SHIT!"

Me (still not raising my voice, forcing myself to try to sound calm): "Do *not* threaten to deport people. This woman is just trying to do her job."

He keeps ranting about how I'm shit and have no right to talk to him.


6. Now that #MrCivility is screaming profanities at me, a nice man seated at the next table leans over and tells him to knock it off. I assume that was because he broke the social code, but I wish he had said something earlier when this guy "joked" about deporting his waitress.

7. We must get to the point where there are social consequences for publicly spewing hatred and aggression against immigrants (at least as much push back as if you randomly screamed profanities).

Hateful old man keeps yelling, I keep telling him not to deport people. Stalemate.

8. Meanwhile, the woman with #MrCivility is still trying to get him to quiet down, but also insulting me as a tactic? I couldn't hear exactly what she was saying but it was something about how I was equally as rude as he was, and he should be the "bigger person." What a farce.

9. Manager tries to get #MrCivility to stop screaming "piece of shit." Asks him to leave. "NO! I'M GOING TO STAY AND FINISH MY FOOD." She says ok, but that he should do that quietly.

For the rest of his meal he mumble-rants about me. "People like her" "idiots" "too sensitive."

10. At this point I'm so mad I'm shaking. Can't hold my fork steady. Trying to eat but I'm so upset at the white supremacist hatred that has crawled out of the sewers where it always festered, and has been emboldened since the election to spew anti-immigrant vitriol even in NYC.

11. This guy's hatred and misogyny was so stark in a city of immigrants. I'm wiping tears away not bec #MrCivility called me "shit" (curse at me? Meh. I'm a native Brooklynite, fuck you very much), but bec I can't do more, and bec I've been so anxious about our slide into fascism

12. I'd already been on edge about (and have been protesting) family separations at the border, Muslim ban, thinking about my Jewish relatives killed by Nazis. Worrying about authoritarianism. #MrCivility just reinforce my despair, which we don't have the luxury of right now.

13. To prevent fascism our movements need fury and organizing, not despair. Yet it's been hard to summon any hope lately. So I'm shaking while I'm holding my fork because I'm so furious. All the while #MrCivility is mumble-gloating "Look at her, she's crying! She's shaking!"

14 Restaurant manager asks if I'm okay, apologizes. I say I'm fine, it's not her fault. That I didn't want to make a scene but I didn't want her waitress to have to deal with that kind of harassment.

Guy from the other table says, "Thanks for saying something" before he leaves.

15. I'm glad he came over, just as I was grateful he told #MrCivility he was out of line for screaming "Piece of shit!" at me, but I wish he had said something earlier, I wish I hadn't been the only one to say that this waitress shouldn't have to deal with deportation "jokes."

16. I get up to use the bathroom--but really to try to calm down--and by the time I come back #MrCivility has left. The waitress asks what happened. I tell her. She says she wasn't upset, "That guy was coo-coo. I don't pay any attention to coo-coo guys."

17. This waitress was white, so she was far less likely to get deported than poc; ICE is most dangerous to new and long-term immigrants of color. But this week I read about an Albanian waiter deported after 20 years in NYC. This shit is no joke.…

18. Invoking Trump, ICE, and deportation to a waitress just trying to do her job at best is an act of aggression, at worst could be life-threatening. We have to speak up and protect our neighbors, protect strangers, and challenged white supremacy and misogyny every time we see it

19. There's no excuse for this man's behavior. Just as @presssec shouldn't eat her dinner in peace, #MrCivility should not be able to eat his dinner in piece when he "joke"/threatens his waitress with deportation and calls me a piece of shit for intervening. Anyone know him?

20. White people, come collect your grandfather. Tell him he needs to stop invoking ICE/deportation with immigrant wait staff. It's harassment. It's not ok.

If this guy feels so comfortable to pull this BS in a French Bistro in NYC, you know a lot worse is going on out there.

21. Lastly, I didn't share this story to be thanked, I'm sharing because I want everyone who reads this thread (esp white ppl & men) -- everyone whose mental health and privilege makes it safe to do so -- to intervene when you see white supremacy or misogyny in action.

22. UPDATE: @Gothamist did a story on my incident challening #MrCivility (who threatened to deport our waitress), and included interviews with the manager and staff of the restaurant where it happened. They confirm the seriousness of what happened.…

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