Former Obama security adviser Stuart Seldowitz was detained by the police on Wednesday for anti-Muslim insults directed at a halal food seller in New York, the BBC reports. A spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed to the BBC that Seldowitz was taken into custody, but said there were no details on any charges.
In interviews with the media, Seldowitz admitted that he is the man from the viral video in which he calls the seller a "terrorist", and he justified his action by saying that the person provoked him by expressing support for Hamas.
In an interview with "City and State", Seldowitz said he was sorry for the incident. However, the street vendor, identified in reports as Mohamed Hussein, denied to the media that he had made any comments in favor of Hamas and announced that he intended to sue Seldowitz.
In the videos, shared on social network X, Seldowitz is seen next to a food cart at different times of the day. If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, you know what, it wasn't enough - Seldowitz said in one of the viral videos published on the X platform (formerly Twitter).
Worked in the Office of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs
Seldowitz had a long career in the US State Department, including in the Office of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, and he was the director of the National Security Council of the White House when Barack Obama was the President of the United States of America.
The lobbying company Gotham Government Relations, where Seldowitz was previously employed, also spoke out about the incident, saying that his actions were "vile, racist and below the dignity of the standards we apply in our company".
However, David Schwartz, the founder and president of Gotham, said that the title of external affairs associate of the company, which Seldowitz held, was honorary, and that he had not worked for the firm in about five years.
Many New Yorkers expressed their support for the food vendor on social media, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams also commented on the incident at Platform X, writing that such rhetoric has no place in the "Big Apple", adds the BBC.