New York City Council Speaker and 2013 mayoral contender Christine Quinn is being asked to reconsider her support for New York’s horse and carriage industry after a shocking new video shows an Irish horse driver verbally abusing a group of women leafleting against the industry with racist and homophobic slurs.
PETA spokeswoman and tennis legend Martina Navratilova has written to Quinn, who is openly gay and who wed her longtime partner Kim Catullo in May, to ask her to reconsider her support in light of the driver’s shocking outburst.
Navratilova claims the incident is further proof that the industry, which historically has been a major employer of Irish drivers, needs an overhaul.
The hateful and bigoted abuse directed at the women by the carriage driver is proof, Navratilova wrote, that everything about the industry is stuck in the 19th century.
The video, first shown by the website TowleRoad.com, has been uploaded to YouTube under the title “Horse Drawn Carriage Driver Rant.” It shows a bowler-hatted Irish driver with a Northern Irish accent verbally berating the unseen group of protestors during Gay Pride Weekend last month. First he raises his index finger at the camera, and then he unleashes a torrent of abuse.
“Are you still bribing the politicians, you c**t’s?” he asks the women. Then he adds, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. A little dyke convention. You have a big dyke convention here?”
As he walks away he addresses an African American woman. “F....ing n****r,” he says.
The video concludes with the question, “If you wouldn’t trust this person to treat a horse kindly then please avoid horse drawn carriages.”
The driver, who reportedly has 20 years experience as a day driver in Manhattan, has been disciplined for his outburst according to Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association who spoke to the Irish Voice on Tuesday.
“This was definitely a bad moment for us without a doubt,” Malone acknowledged. However, the drivers outside Central Park are being subjected to constant campaign of picketing and leafleting, he added.
“It needs to be brought to everyone’s attention the thousands of hours of harassment that is focused on us every Saturday and Sunday.”
The Irish driver in the video was himself the subject of verbal harassment from the protestors before the filming began, Malone said.
“There are a lot of hours of footage that will never be reported. He was called an Irish bastard before this,” Malone added.
“The level of abuse on 59th Street is at the point where it is almost unbearable. Protestors are allowed to picket under our feet. They should not be allowed in range of someone with a camera.”
Nevertheless, Malone said the association takes responsibility for the driver’s outburst.
“There will be an official apology made from the driver. We will work hard to make sure it won’t happen again.”
Watch the video below: VIEWER WARNING this clip contains strong language:
Top Irish names for girls