The elderly woman whom New York City Mayor Eric Adams compared to a plantation owner was born as her family fled the Holocaust.
A Thursday New York Times report revealed that housing activist Jeanie Dubnau, who was berated by Adams in a racial attack for questioning him about the Big Apple’s back-to-back rent increases, fled during the Holocaust to New York City with her family.
Dubnau, a molecular biologist, told reporters of her family’s journey fleeing Nazi Germany just before she was born and accused Adams of deflecting from her question because he did not have an answer.
“It was a complete deflection from what I was saying, because he has no answer,” she told the Times.
Dubnau said she was not trying to be disrespectful to Adams and that she had to shout her question because there was no microphone at the event.
“I didn’t have a microphone,” she said. “I had to speak loudly so that everyone could hear what I was saying.”
Fox News Digital asked Adams’ office for comment on the Times’ report and whether the mayor believed it was appropriate to make racial attacks on people asking questions about his policies.
Adams’ spokesperson Fabian Levy told Fox News Digital that the “community conversations were created as a space where we could discuss different issues.”
“That’s why the mayor asked this individual to stand up, so she could speak her mind,” Levy said. “To be clear, anyone who believes this mayor isn’t fighting for tenants hasn’t been paying attention.”
“This administration has invested more money for housing than any in New York City history. We’re advancing comprehensive plans to build more homes, faster, and across the city, which is the only way to truly solve the affordability crisis,” he continued. “And we’ve invested in efforts to protect tenants from eviction and expanded rental assistance.”
“The Rent Guidelines Board is tasked with making difficult decisions based on hard data, and balancing the need to protect tenants with the need to provide small property owners — who have seen expenses go up by the most in two decades — with the revenue they need to make repairs and protect our housing stock,” Levy added.
Adams’ attack on Dubnau came after the housing activist interjected during his comments at a community conversation town hall in Manhattan. Dubnau had interrupted his remarks and accused the mayor of raising New York City rent and supporting increases.
“If you are going to ask a question, don’t point at me and don’t be disrespectful to me,” Adams told the woman. “I’m the mayor of the city. Treat me with the respect I deserve to be treated. I’m speaking to you as an adult. Don’t stand in front like you treating someone that’s on the plantation that you own. Give me the respect I deserve and engage in the conversation up here in Washington Heights.”
“Treat me with the same level of respect I treat you,” Adams continued. “So, don’t be pointing at me, don’t be disrespectful to me. Speak with me as an adult because I’m a grown man. I walked into this room as a grown man, and I’ll walk out of this room as a grown man. I answered your question.”
Following his response to the woman, audience members and city officials briefly applauded Adams.
The mayor’s fierce comments came moments after his initial response to the woman. He noted that he owns a three-family home in Brooklyn but has never increased the rent on his tenants. Adams also sidestepped blame for rent increases, saying the New York City Rent Guidelines Board makes those decisions.
“I think it was a three percent recommendation,” he said. “I don’t control the board. I make appointments. They made the decision.”
On June 21, the Rent Guidelines Board announced recommendations paving the way for landlords to increase rents by 3% this year. The move impacts more than a million rent-stabilized apartments in the city.
Following the announcement, Adams commended the board’s decision.
“Finding the right balance is never easy, but I believe the board has done so this year — as evidenced by affirmative votes from both tenant and public representatives,” he said in a statement.
Fox News Digital’s Thomas Catenacci contributed reporting.