Bloomberg Appointee Resigns After Fallout From ‘Racist’ Essay

Steve Bogart, WPIX-TV, May 5, 2009

A prominent member of the city’s Women’s Issues Commission resigned Monday, a week after she wrote an online essay advising Mexico to “get a grip on its banditos” among other disparaging remarks about the Central American country.

In a letter to First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris Monday, Betsy Perry, who was appointed to the commission by Mayor Bloomberg, officially stepped down from her post from the commission.

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After her essay was published on The Huffington Post, where she called Mexico a nation of “guns, drugs, kidnappings and swine flu,” many lashed out at Perry, calling her remarks “racist” and “stereotypical.”

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[Editor’s Note: As of May 7, 2009, Betsy Perry’s essay “Montezuma’s Revenge: Can the Best Thing About Mexico Really Be Beverly Hills Chihuahua?” can still be read here.]


A member of New York City’s commission on women’s issues is in hot water for remarks she made about Mexico in an online column she wrote for the Huffington Post Tuesday.

In the web essay regarding the recent pandemic of swine flu, Betsy Perry, who was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March 2007, warns that the United States might need to “get a grip on its banditos”–referring to Mexicans.

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A slew of angry commentors responded to the essay, slamming the writing as “uninformed” and “xenophobic.” Mayor Bloomberg is also outraged, saying he had not read the essay but called the words inappropriate. He said he doesn’t know what Perry was thinking.

For her part, Perry issued an apology Thursday for her controversial remarks, via the Huffington Post.

“One of the challenges for any blogger is to write fast, write short, and get people to find your way of thinking sharp and funny,” Perry explains. “No question that my post today was written too fast, wasn’t short enough, and turned out to be neither sharp nor funny. I see now that it crossed the line between cute and offensive. For that, I really do apologize, and I have asked that the post be taken down.”

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