A Prospect-Lefferts Gardens blogger swore to never again cover the neighborhood he wrote about for nearly a decade, or any surrounding areas, after a firebrand local anti-gentrification activist threatened to publicly denounce him as a racist for posting defamatory allegations about her on the website.
Citizen journalist Tim Thomas abruptly called it quits in a Friday post on his “Q at Parkside” blog, which has since been taken down. The blogger declared he would abandon the operation he started in May 2010 two days before activist Alicia Boyd planned to disrupt a Sunday event hosted by his employer with a rally condemning him, and apologized to Boyd — whom he just weeks ago compared to President Trump and accused of illegal electioneering on behalf of a Crown Heights state senator in stories on the website.
“I apologize to the black community, its residents, leaders, and especially Alicia Boyd for the comments and behavior I have exhibited via this blog,” Thomas wrote in his final post. “I will shut down the Q at Parkside permanently.”
Prior to abandoning Q at Parkside, Thomas published several recent stories criticizing Boyd. An Aug. 24 story, for instance, accused her of using her tax-exempt community-service organization, New Directions in Healing, to illegally solicit funds from followers of her anti-gentrification group Movement to Protect the People, which sent out e-mails encouraging recipients to donate funds via New Directions to state Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D–Crown Heights) during his unsuccessful primary-election race against attorney Zellnor Myrie, according to the blogger.
“Alicia raises money through MTOPP, which she says is a non-profit, though it’s actually using her other non-profit New Directions in Healing as its shell, accepting tax-deductible donations,” he wrote. “And in case you were unaware, [that’s] illegal.”
But Thomas, who in another blog story insinuated that Hamilton gave Boyd money to pay off a mortgage in exchange for her campaign services, recanted that claim and his allegation she illegally electioneered on the pol’s behalf in his apology post, writing that he had “no firm evidence” to support the accusations.
The blogger’s sudden resignation, which also included a pledge not to write about Flatbush, Ditmas Park, and Crown Heights, came in exchange for Boyd’s promise to cancel the protest she planned at a bash hosted by performing-arts organization Bang on a Can, where Thomas works as a development director, which the activist upheld — but not before releasing statement that bashed Thomas as a racist and pawn for developers after he posted his mea culpa.
“It appears that Mr. Thomas and the community have come to an agreement,” Boyd’s statement read. “We were aware that he was a mouthpiece for developers and corrupt politicians who fed him information and encouraged his racist antics … we are no longer willing to tolerate negative, abusive, sexist, and racist comments from white men in a predominantly black community.”
Boyd claimed Thomas referred to local black leaders as “assoholics, frauds, lunatics, fools, and embarrassments” in 2014 and 2015 blog posts that she referenced in e-mails sent ahead of her planned protest, but could not provide more recent examples of his alleged racism.
And in a Sept. 21 post, the blogger admitted to using that language, but explained his remarks pertained to Boyd specifically, not black people in general, before going on to compare the activist to the current commander-in-chief.
“The fact is I don’t hate blacks and women. I strongly dislike one black woman. But I also strongly dislike one white man, and he happens to be my president,” Thomas wrote.
Boyd resorting to racist smears to defame an adversary is nothing new, however, according to an African-American woman who formerly lived in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and came in contact with the activist during community-led demonstrations against a controversial Flatbush Avenue development in 2014.
“Whenever Alicia Boyd enters the public square, she’s likely to employ a variety of intimidating and obstructive tactics in order to shut down all opposing voices,” said Celeste Lacy Davis. “I’m especially disgusted by the way a fake race card has been played in this instance.”
The latest showdown between Thomas and Boyd followed years of the two butting heads, often over his advocacy for new developments with market-rate and affordable housing that she generally opposed out of fear such complexes would force longtime neighborhood residents from their homes.
In 2016, the activist organized a campaign that led civic gurus on Community Board 9 to boot the blogger from his volunteer post on the panel after she made similar accusations of racism to board members and Borough President Adams.
“We filed petitions, complained to Borough President Adams, petitioned the community board for his removal,” Boyd told this newspaper. “And again we felt his removal from the community board would put his behavior to rest.”
But not all locals are cheering the blogger’s demise — a Facebook post lamenting Thomas’s departure from the website drew such comments as “Thank you, Tim” and “Alicia Boyd sucks.”