Brooklyn district leader draws heat after anti-Chinese, anti-Palestinian Twitter posts

Lori Maslow
Lori Maslow at a December Zoom meeting for the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

Brooklyn politicos are calling on Marine Park Democratic District Leader Lori Maslow to resign from elected office following a racist tweet she posted against Chinese people on Jan. 2, along with a series of derogatory social media posts she made toward Palestinians since 2019 that resurfaced over the weekend.

Maslow, who serves as the female district leader in the south-eastern 41st Assembly District, sparked controversy when she posted a tweet Saturday in reference to Chinese tariffs, saying she will boycott goods made in that country and that she “can’t even look at Chinese food.”

“We’re sickof [sic] buying from China. They did this to us. They lied to us. And yes, Trump plays an outsized role as well. I, for one, will never, ever buy anything made in China again. Join me. I can’t even look at Chinese food,” Maslow said in the now-deleted post.

Lori Maslow’s now-deleted tweet.Screenshot

The statement prompted widespread condemnation, including by Manhattan Assemblywoman Yu-Line Niou, who said that Maslow’s comments echoed a larger trend of racism against Asian-Americans, which has only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Perpetual Foreigner Stereotype is a hateful harmful type of nativist xenophobia that Asian Americans face day to day. It makes us ALWAYS ‘the other’. And the comments made over and over again by this writer and so many others are a part of that type of racist rhetoric,” said Niou in a Twitter thread on Jan. 3.

On Sunday, Maslow apologized and announced she would step down from the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s sixth vice chair position, adding that she plans to undergo “racial justice training.”

“I sincerely apologize for the poor choice of words I used in a social media post over the weekend, which were hurtful to members of the Chinese American community,” Maslow said in a statement. “The diversity of our Democratic Party is what makes it so wonderful to be a part of.”

Brooklyn Democratic Party boss and Flatbush Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte followed up condemning Maslow’s previous remarks, while expressing support for her Chinese-American colleagues.

“The derogatory tweets against #ChineseAmerican community by @IAMLORISUE r distasteful & hurtful. I condemn them & accept her resignation. @bkdems don’t stand 4 racism. I’ve expressed support of #AsianAmericans 2 leaders @yuhline @rontkim @setochungster #Nancytong & stand w/ them,” Bichotte said on Twitter.

However, a slate of fellow district leaders and some City Council members said Maslow’s resignation as sixth vice chair was largely “ceremonial” and that she should step down as the area’s district leader, an unpaid elected position that gives her power to vote on the party’s 42-member executive committee. 

“Her resignation from a ceremonial position as 6th Vice Chair of the Brooklyn Democratic County Committee is an empty gesture and an insufficient action in response to her bigoted statement,” the eight progressive politicians wrote in a Jan. 3 open letter. “Witnessing Leader Maslow’s most recent remarks and learning now about her clear pattern of bigoted posts, we call on District Leader Lori Maslow to resign immediately from her position as State Committee Member and District Leader.”

A spokeswoman for the party declined to comment further.

Maslow, who in 2001 ran as a Republican for Borough President and in 2016 was elected Democratic District Leader, is now closely aligned with Democratic Party leaders, having put forth party-friendly proposals at the recent 26-hour two-part full meeting in December.

Her husband, Aaron Maslow, is an election lawyer for the party and serves at the helm of several committees and task forces for the borough Dems.

Her weekend tweets spurred political activists to unearth more offensive posts by Maslow from the past two years — which were deleted after this article’s publication — including a number of statements against Palestinians and Palestinian-American Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

In a Nov. 12, 2019, tweet Maslow cited the Bible implying that Palestinians would be wiped “off the face of the earth,” in response to a tweet by the group If Not Now, which opposes Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

“Palestinians kill Jews. Think we are going to stand there and let that happen? We value life. They don’t. Never again. And as the Bible says, and you shall wipe the children of Amelek off the face of the earth. Period. Shoot or kill us, we respond,” Maslow wrote.

A screenshot of a now-deleted tweet by Maslow from Nov. 12, 2019.Screenshot

Earlier that year on May 6, Maslow tweeted at Rep. Tlaib: “Stop ‘dehumanizing the Palestinian people?’ Easy answer there. When they start acting like humans. You are an anti Semite.”

Another deleted tweet by Maslow.Screenshot

Maslow has leveled several insults at the midwestern Congresswoman, including calling her a “POS” and saying she “hope[s] she burns in hell.”

Maslow leveled several insults at Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib during the past year.Screenshot

One Brooklyn Muslim and Arab political organizer denounced Maslow’s tweets as Islamophobic and dehumanizing, and joined calls for her to quit elected office.

“It’s reprehensible that a Brooklyn Democratic leader is otherizing people like that,” said Murad Awawdeh, president of the political group Yalla Brooklyn. “She has said Islamophobic and incredibly dehumanizing statements.”

Bushwick Councilman Antonio Reynoso said Maslow’s tweets disqualified her from representing the borough.

“There have also been some terrible and reprehensible statements about Palestinians made by Lori Maslow. At this point she doesn’t deserve to represent Brooklyn or the Democratic party at any capacity,” Reynoso tweeted. “I am also calling on her to resign as District Leader.”

Maslow did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Update, (Jan. 5, 4:57 pm): All of Lori Maslow’s tweets linked in this article were deleted after publication of this story. Where available, we have added screenshots of the tweets before they were removed.