News and Commentary

Emma Sarley Speaks Out Over Alleged Racism: ‘I Was Filled With Some Panic’ Over Being Followed
Many-to-one human hand. (kokouu/Getty Images)
kokouu/Getty Images

A New York woman who lost her job after a prominent anti-racist author accused her of racism defended herself Monday, insisting that her comments during an interaction over the weekend “had no intended racial undertones.”

Emma Sarley was fired from her job at Bevy, a community events software platform, on Sunday after Frederick Joseph, author of the anti-racist book, “The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person,” accused her on Twitter of “racism” at a dog park in Brooklyn. Joseph posted a video on Twitter showing a brief interaction between him and Sarley Saturday night. As The Daily Wire reported:

The video begins with Joseph, who is off camera and filming the incident on his phone, confronting Sarley for allegedly telling him and his fiancée to “stay in our hood.” Sarley flips a middle finger at Joseph before attempting to grab the phone out of his hand.

“Oh my God, did you just say that to me?” Sarley says, responding to Joseph’s accusation.

Joseph turns the camera on another man who he says witnessed the interaction before the camera was on. “I’m sorry. You were right here and watched this entire thing. Did she just not stand here and tell us to stay in our hood?” Joseph asks.

“She did,” the man confirmed while Sarley walks away.

Joseph used his sizeable Twitter account to find out Sarley’s personal information, contact her employer, and push Bevy for “accountability” over the interaction. Bevy CEO Derek Andersen announced that Sarley had been “terminated” on Sunday.

Sarley released a statement on Monday admitting she “could have handled things better.” Sarley said that she believed Joseph’s dog was barking and acting aggressive and wanted him to take it from the dog park they were in. She said that she became nervous when Joseph and his fiancée began following her.

“I was filled with some panic because I’ve never been in an altercation like this and reacted in an inappropriate way. That’s what you witnessed on that tape,” Sarley said.

Joseph has a history of using his prominent Twitter account to make accusations of racism. As The Daily Wire reported:

His allegations have caught media attention before, too. In 2020, Joseph and his family stayed at an Airbnb property and then claimed the house was full of “seemingly satanic items and stuff for witchcraft rituals,” including “imagery, candles, books, etc for rituals and what looked like devil worship.”

Motherboard participated in a video call with the owner of the house who walked them through the home and pointed out the items Joseph claimed were satanic. In reality, they were just “art books and kitschy objects.” The “ritualistic markings” on the basement floor were, in reality, just paint smudges.

Even the Church of Satan discredited Joseph’s claims, calling them “thrift store curiosities & hot topic kitsch, not evidence of satanic rituals.”

Another one of Joseph’s claims was against a white woman (white women appear to be his main targets) who took off her shoes on a flight and rested her feet – in socks – on the pull-out table. Joseph claimed a black person wouldn’t haven’t been able to get away with this and that the flight crew did nothing when he tried to alert them to her behavior, which he said made him “irate.”

Sarley’s complete statement, obtained by The Daily Wire, can be viewed below:

I am still processing everything that has happened over the last couple days, and thought it was important to share what I saw and experienced. I absolutely accept responsibility for how I could have handled things differently in that moment.

On Saturday evening, I watched a dog get into several aggressive altercations with other dogs at my local park, and as the owners of this dog were leaving, I suggested that they keep a handle on their dog while visiting this particular park. My reference to “back to your hood” only referred to another dog park outside of this neighborhood park.

I was frustrated and upset, but to be clear – I had no intended racial undertones in my comments whatsoever. I said it because it’s an unstated rule at our local park that when a dog is being aggressive, owners immediately remove them so it can be a calm, welcoming environment for everyone else. However, I fully understand how my words could’ve been interpreted and I deeply wish I had chosen them more carefully. A brief and thoughtless moment in my life has now led to nationwide outrage and hurt. For that, I am sorry.

I want to clarify that I never threatened to call the police. I never went on a tirade. As the dog owners followed me down the street with the phone camera on, I was filled with some panic because I’ve never been in an altercation like this and reacted in an inappropriate way. That’s what you witnessed on that tape.

I’ve lived in New York City for a decade, my Brooklyn neighborhood and dog park is extremely diverse, something I truly love about this city, and I never meant for my words to contribute to pain for anyone. I truly hope we can find understanding and a peaceful resolution to this, for everyone involved.

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