Convicted Sex Offender Calls Asians ‘Racists’ For Wanting Background Checks on Tenants

December 12, 2022

NEW YORK CITY—Douglas Powell, a convicted sex offender affiliated with a liberal advocacy group Vocal-NY, lambasted two Asian women who spoke before him about a proposed law that would prevent landlords from conducting criminal background checks on potential tenants.

“This is not about felonies — it’s about race, it’s about black people,” Powell responded during the hearing conducted by the Council Committee on Civil Rights.

“Did you see the Asian people just been talking?” he said.

“I live in Rego Park now. That’s the most racist neighborhood I’ve ever been in, and it’s nothing but Asians in there.

“If you go into a store, they will follow you around like you’re getting ready to steal something. They don’t want black people living in black people neighborhoods. Because it’s not their neighborhood, because they’re from China, they’re from Hong Kong. We from New York,” Powell said.

No council member interrupted him or even bothered addressing his hate speech during the meeting.

Powell, 59, was found guilty in 2012 of an attempted criminal sex act with a victim under 15 years old in 2008. He received a 30-month prison sentence for the crime and is listed as a Level 2 sex offender with a Rego Park address, according to the New York Post.

Asian-American activists were naturally furious that council members did not intervene during Powell’s anti-Asian rant during the hearing.

“I left after my testimony and that man was referring to me and @susanleenyc,” Yiatin Chu, president of Asian Wave Alliance tweeted. “This is the hate speech that fuels anti-Asian hate crimes. And our electreds were silent.”

“Can you imagine if he was saying the same about Blacks, Hispanics or Jewish ppl? Would our electeds be silent and move on as if nothing racist happened!” Chu continued.

After receiving a large amount of backlash, Councilmember Natasha Williams, who also chairs the committee that presided over the hearing, issued a belated statement on the incident but offered no apology.

“In reference to yesterdays hearing on fair chance for housing: Racism and discrimination hurt us all in different ways and responding to them with similar rhetoric is never the solution,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “As a Black woman, a member of one of the most hated and disrespected demographics on the planet, I know personally how deeply hurtful language can be to our progress as a people and one’s personal safety.”

The prejudice against both Asian communities, Black communities and justice-involved folks is a product of systematic racism that we must stand against. In May, I held a hearing on hate crimes to highlight the recent increase in anti-Asian hate in our city. I felt it was important to ensure our Asian brothers and sisters had both the support and resources they needed to combat hate. … Our liberation is rooted in each other’s freedoms, that is why I denounce any hateful comments directed towards any community.”

Feature Screenshots via Twitter

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