Rochester couple deny racism claims after Juneteenth party : NPR
Mary Znidarsic-Nicosia and her husband, Nicholas Nicosia, wanted to clear their names after being accused of hosting a racist party. So they made a plan and held a press conference this week.
Step One: The wealthy white couple from Rochester, New York have adamantly defended themselves against what Znidarsic-Nicosia called “false allegations of racism.”
Second step: Znidarsic-Nicosia confessed in front of a room full of journalists that she also managed a racist and anonymous Twitter account.
“In full disclosure, I have a parody Twitter account that operates under the veil of a character — and I’ve made blatantly racist comments under that character,” she admitted.
“Twitter culture works that way. It gives you the opportunity to be someone you’re not,” she explained.
The couple have come under fire after being named in a notice of lawsuit filed by Rochester firefighter Jerrod Jones against the city and firefighters. Jones, who is black, said his former captain, Jeffrey Krywy, ordered him and other firefighters to attend the party hosted by the Nicosias on July 7 when they were all in service.
Jones is seeking $3 million for emotional distress and at least $1 million in compensatory damages. Meanwhile, Krywy took early retirement before the town could begin termination procedures.
Legal filing details alleged racist tropes exposed at July party
When the group arrived at the party, the filing reads, “Jones immediately felt uneasy, and his discomfort intensified as he walked up the aisle and noticed a large cutout of the old President Donald Trump. Turning the corner at the end of the driveway and seeing the backyard, he became completely shocked.”
The large backyard was decorated with Juneteenth flags and mugs that were placed near buckets of KFC and bottles of Hennessy cognac, according to the document.
Nicosias attorney Corey Hogan told NPR the party’s theme was anti-liberal — the invitation called it the ‘1st Annual Liberal Smashin Splish Splash Pool Party’ — but it was being misinterpreted by Jones as racist.
Lawyer argues there’s no evidence his clients are racist
Hogan has repeatedly challenged reporters – including this reporter – to find evidence to support claims that any of his clients are fanatics, arguing that Znidarsic’s Twitter account- Nicosia does not count.
Although the real estate agent did not disclose her anonymous Twitter account, the now-defunct @HoHoHomeboyROC account used an image of a bust of a black mom she admitted to owning. Screenshot previous posts include other anti-black images, reposts of other accounts stalking black people – often in an offensive interpretation of black vernacular – and several fake advertisements for KFC.
Hogan also indicated that Znidarsic-Nicosia runs additional Twitter accounts. “I think she has a number of different handles,” he said.
During the press conference, the duo broke down in tears. Znidarsic-Nicosia wept, saying, “The allegations in this story have caused my family almost unbearable pain.” Her husband, a dentist, wept, saying, “Cancelling culture can be cruel.”
He then added that he had lost patients in his dental practice because of Jones’ allegations. “The only thing I hate more than racism is allegations of racism,” he said.
On Friday, their lawyer suggested that neither had a single racist belief. He repeatedly remarked that Rochester Mayor Malik Evans attended a reception at the Nicosia residence about a year and a half ago, and the couple also had a black Jamaican living in a house. guests on the property.
“She wasn’t invited to the party,” he later clarified, adding that of the dozen guests present, Jones was the only African American.
Hogan also said that Znidarsic-Nicosia’s apology during the press conference was sincere and heartfelt. Additionally, he said, “some in the black community have asked if we can now use this as an excuse to do some healing.”
Jones’ attorney told NPR that his client “is in talks with the city and the fire department” and that it’s too early to decide whether to take legal action.