News / Culture

Watch Curtis Sliwa be Racist for a Full Minute

It’s probably not news to residents of New York that Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels and radio “personality,” is a controversial figure. On NY1 News‘ weekly Road to City Hall segment “Political Rundown,” however, he regularly reveals himself to be even more than previously suspected. Each week he appears alongside NY1 political commentator Gerson Borrero, who, while perhaps not universally popular, at least shows up prepared to actually discuss the issues put to him in the thirty seconds he gets before turning things over to Sliwa. Now on television rather than radio, Sliwa reveals himself as a sort of political Carrot Top, but with less insight, using ridiculous props to aid him as he mugs and shouts about the topics presented with all the nuance and understanding of an old drunk you have the misfortune of sitting next to on the subway. And as if general ignorance weren’t bad enough, between his “jive” voice, his implications that Governor Cuomo is mob connected, his digs at Borrero’s ethnicity, his disparagement of foreigners in general, and sayings like “You thought your complexion would be your protection,” Sliwa reveals himself to be an unapologetic racist at least–and I spent some time clicking through their archive–once every episode.

On June 1st, however, Sliwa hit a new low. Watch at around 6:15, when in response to a discussion about Cuomo’s stance on secure communities and English only programs, Sliwa dons a sombrero, waves two Mexican flags, and yells things like “Andale andale!” and “I can be Viva Zapata, too!” and, in a cartoon Mexican accent, “Oh no, Señor Cuomo, we love you because you love the banditos, don’t you, you gringo? … Señor, what a stupid gringo he is, eh?” He continues for a full minute.

Nothing can be done to change Sliwa, but NY1 shouldn’t tolerate such consistently disgusting behavior, every week, on their channel. If it was just the attempts at lame prop comedy it would be bad, but with repeated instances of on-air racism and homophobia, it’s unconscionable to continue giving this man a platform based on left over good will from 1979.

One thing we do know: Gerson Borrero acquits himself beautifully every time he has to put up with this. Still, one has to wonder why he would continue to agree to appear on a program that treats Sliwa as if he is a legitimate commentator with something valuable to contribute to political discourse. Watch here.