A Western New York couple accused by a Black firefighter of throwing a racist-themed pool party last month said Tuesday she is not a racist — but admitted she plays one on Twitter.
Nicholas Nicosia, a dentist, and his real estate agent wife, Mary Znidarsic-Nicosia, said their July 7 party in Rochester aimed to mock liberal politicians and values, but was not based in bigotry.
No sooner had they said that, than Znidarsic-Nicosia admitted she runs a racist Twitter account under an anonymous handle — while continuing to insist that she herself is not racist.
“I challenge you, the press, look into their backgrounds,” their attorney, Cory Hogan, said at a press conference the couple staged to restore their image, according to WHEC-TV. “Find anything they’ve done in their lives, their 50-plus year lives, that’s racist.”
It took just 25 minutes for Hogan to out his own client.
“Mary Nicosia has a twitter account,” he said, calling out its “wrong” and “vile” nature, according to WHEC. “It’s racist.”
Firefighter Jerrod Jones said he was on duty when his captain pressured him and two co-workers into attending the party, at which large Juneteenth flags were displayed over buckets of fried chicken, alongside bottles of cognac. He has filed a notice of claim against the city and the department seeking at least $3 million for emotional distress and $1 million or more in compensatory damages.
His boss, Captain Jeffrey Krywy, was first suspended and then retired rather than face firing after an internal department investigation.
“This is an extreme lack of judgement on Krywy’s part to not only attend a personal party while on duty, but to then remain at the party after noticing the nature and theme of the party was political with many racial stereotypes,” the department’s report concluded, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Jones has been a Rochester firefighter for 14 years. The shindig made him uncomfortable for its political imagery alone, even before it started resembling the movie “Get Out,” as he characterized it, noted the Democrat & Chronicle. The department denied his subsequent request to be reassigned so that he wouldn’t have to work under Krywy.
The Nicosias insisted the intent of the “liberal-smashing splish splash pool party” was to ridicule liberals, not mock the holiday celebrating the end of U.S. slavery. They dismissed the chicken as merely a convenient food choice.
At the same time, Znidarsic-Nicosia copped to running the anonymous Twitter account, which posts racist images and content, saying the alter-ego did not make her a racist, even as she expressed remorse.
“I do have a Twitter parody account that operates under a veil of a persona, and I have made blatantly racist comments under that persona,” Znidarsic-Nicosia said, according to Rochester City Newspaper. “The culture of Twitter operates that way. It’s part of its charm. I don’t want to say charm, but it gives you an opportunity to be someone that you’re not in terms of a persona.”
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
After blaming Twitter, she said she was sorry and noted that her husband had not known about the account.
“And for these comments, I’d like to apologize to the African American community and other people in the community that I have hurt or offended by doing what I was doing on Twitter,” Znidarsic-Nicosia said.
While chowing down on chicken parts with cognac chasers, partygoers mingled among images of Democratic politicians and Rochester Police Accountability Board members on stakes in the grass, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Nicosia called the characterization of the party a “false narrative” that has cost him dental patients, saying he and his wife had been “tried and convicted on social media” and blaming “cancel culture” for ruining his reputation.
Jones spoke about his experience, saying at a press conference that it “cut me very deeply.”
“I decided to speak up today because I have two children who maybe one day will aspire to become firefighters, and I don’t want them to experience what I experienced.”
With News Wire Services
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism