Councilman James Oddo — hot-headed, expletive-spewing Neanderthal or a great defender of America’s cherished bipartisan traditions? You decide.
Oddo (R–Dyker Heights) made headlines around the globe this week after a user of YouTube, the ubiquitous video-sharing Web site, posted a clip of the Council minority leader screaming obscenities at a Norwegian reporter whose “interview” was really an Ali G-style prank.
Once he realized that the joke was on him, Oddo wasn’t laughing.
“Get the f—k out of my office! What the f—k is this?” Oddo screamed, dropping the “f-bomb” 15 times (and assorted other barnyard expletives a few more times) in the clip which ran just over one-and-one-half minutes.
The YouTube footage has made Oddo something of a folk hero among his supporters (“Reminds me of Sonny Corleone! Awesome,” said one fan) and a thug to his detractors (“You embarrassed yourself, Staten Island and Italians,” wrote one disappointed constituent). Either way, the video has become a must-watch (you can see it below).
The segment seemed innocent enough, with the Norwegian “reporter” — actually an actress with the fake news show “Rickets Rost” — entering Oddo’s office and sitting down to ask a few questions.
But from the first question, the councilman sensed something was amiss.
“Isn’t it against the Constitution that Barack Obama runs [sic] for presidency when he’s not an American citizen?”
“He’s an American citizen,” a calm, but startled Oddo replied. “He’s a United States senator.”
“But I read somewhere he’s African-American,” the interviewer persisted.
“So? African-Americans are citizens of this country,” Oddo replied.
The interviewer changed topics to Hillary Clinton, asking whether she had any chance of getting elected “after that embarrassing incident with the cigar?”
That’s when Oddo flipped, getting up from the table and summoning an aide before launching into his tirade.
“Hillary Clinton’s cigar? Barack Obama? Get the f—k out of my office,” he screamed, ripping off his lapel microphone. (The clip includes Norwegian subtitles — “Kom dere til h— ut av mitt kontor!” — so nothing would be lost in translation.)
“Do you think I have time to waste for this bulls—?” he continued. “Get out of my office before I throw you the f—k out of my office and I take your cameras and I throw them out the f—king window.
“I don’t know what kind of f—king game you’re playing, but it’s not the game I f—king play!” he added, for good measure.
And though largely unnoticed by the 415,000 people who have watched the video since it was posted earlier this — and the 3,000 who have commented — Oddo also ripped off his suit jacket to better affect an aggressive fighting posture.
This week, Oddo apologized for his outburst — but then again, didn’t.
“I’m angry at myself that I allowed it to happen,” he told The Brooklyn Paper. “And I’m upset that my vocabulary was so limited.
“But I do hope people will take away two things from this: one is that I didn’t do a knee-jerk Republican thing. They were trying to mock Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, and I defended them. So this is a breath of fresh air.
“And, two, I hope people will see, once they get past the language, a person who calls it like he sees it. There’s no synthetic sincerity there. I’m out there. I don’t parse my words.
“This is how someone on 13th Avenue would’ve handled such an interview,” he added.
He may be onto something. Locals hailed Oddo for his outspokenness.
“He’s absolutely f—king right,” said Carmine Santa Maria, a Democrat and president of the Bensonhurst–West End Community Council, a neighborhood group.
“Those pranksters deserved every f—king thing he said. He may have lost control, but we all feel the same way.”