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NYC’s New Mayor Eric Adams’ Latest Terrible Take: “Low Skill Workers … Don’t Have the Academic Skills To Sit in a Corner Office”

New York mayor Eric Adams gives a press conference in a white sweatshirt with a garish colorful logo for the covid-19 "vaccine and testing"

New York City’s new mayor Eric Adams has only had the job less than a week and he’s already proving to be truly terrible.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Adams expressed his displeasure with the continuation of remote work due to the extremely still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Adams said he wanted corporate businesses to encourage their employees to come into the office and into the city—a city where this week an average of 600 people have had to be hospitalized because of the virus every day. The reasoning he gave for his awful opinion was that those corporate employees need to support the “low skill workers” who “don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office.”

“I don’t know if my businesses are sharing with their employees, ‘You are part of the ecosystem of this city.’ My low-skill workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe shine people, those that work in Dunkin’ Donuts, they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office. They need this,” Adams said.

First of all, his use of possessive pronouns is bizarre.

But that’s just the tiniest part of what’s wrong with his comments. It really is incredible how fast “essential” workers became “low skill” workers in the eyes of so many people.

In a follow-up interview with CBS This Morning, Adams said what he meant was “low-wage workers” and accused people of trying to “distort” his message. But neither message is acceptable! It’s dehumanizing to equate people’s value with their job and their level of “skill”—a meaningless term—or their pay. And Adams straight-up said those workers need the benevolence of accountants and bankers and the like, due to their lack of “academic skills.” No one was distorting that message.

Whether a person is working at Dunkin’ Donuts as a stepping stone to something else or because it’s exactly where they plan to stay, they don’t need people like Adams making assumptions about their abilities, intelligence, or disposability in a pandemic.

This is just the latest terrible take from Adams, who also said recently that we could defeat COVID-19 with “swagger” and that anyone who hasn’t worn a bulletproof vest isn’t allowed to criticize his policies on criminal justice. We are absolutely not looking forward to hearing what he says next.

(image: screenshot)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.