Doormen Fired After Closing Door On Asian American Woman Attacked In NYC

·Reporter, HuffPost
·3-min read

Two doormen were fired after a man attacked an Asian woman on the sidewalk outside their building in late March and, rather than intervening or going out immediately afterward to help her, they closed the door.

The Brodsky Organization, which owns the condo building in question on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, fired the workers on Tuesday, saying in a statement to the media that “required emergency and safety protocols were not followed” during the incident.

The company noted that a full video (rather than the shorter clip that went viral) showed the doormen coming out of the building later to assist the woman and flag down a police car.

The union that the doormen were part of, SEIU 32BJ, confirmed the firings to HuffPost and said that both employees had begun the process of filing a grievance challenging their terminations.

The viral video of the incident shows a man viciously attacking a woman — later identified as 65-year-old Vilma Kari, who is Filipina — and repeatedly kicking her in the face. Police said the assailant had shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her “you don’t belong here.”

In security footage, one of the doormen in the building’s lobby can be seen closing the door to the street after the assailant walks away and Kari is still on the ground. The workers were originally suspended after the video came out.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time that it was “absolutely unacceptable” that bystanders did not intervene, adding: “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker.”

A suspect, Brandon Elliott, was later arrested and charged with felony assault as a hate crime, according to police. Kari sustained serious injuries, including a fractured pelvis, and has been released from the hospital, NPR reported.

The attack sparked outrage as anti-Asian racism rises nationwide. Since last year, Asian Americans have been reporting a surge in racist violence, often related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hate crimes targeting Asian American and Pacific Islanders rose by 150% in major U.S. cities, according to one study. Stop AAPI Hate recorded an alarming 3,795 reports of racist violence against Asian Americans from early 2020 to early 2021. People were called racial slurs, spat on and assaulted.

The former doormen’s union said that it takes “anti-Asian hatred, and all forms of discrimination, seriously” and noted that its members are majority “immigrant, Black and brown workers” who face “much of the same racism and violence that our AAPI neighbors” do.

“All union workers, especially workers of color who are often the subject of unfair treatment on the job, have a right to a fair process,” the union said.


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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