Something incredible happened today in a Hilton Garden Inn in Rochester, New York. A local couple, Nicholas and Mary Nicosia, and their attorney, Corey Hogan, held a nearly hour-long press conference with the goal of convincing the gathered members of the press that the Nicosias did not host a racist party at their home on July 7 of this year. At one point during this press conference, Hogan spoke the following words: “Mary Nicosia has a Twitter account. It’s racist. It’s wrong. It’s vile. Shouldn’t exist.”
We’ll get back to that. First, you are going to need some context for all of this. Earlier this month, a black firefighter named Jerrod Jones filed a lawsuit against the Rochester Fire Department in which he claims that the department failed to properly act after Jones’s captain, Jeffrey Krywy, took him to the Nicosias’ party, which Jones says had blatantly racist themes. From the Democrat & Chronicle‘s report on the lawsuit:
When he first arrived, Jones said he saw a large cut-out of Donald Trump, large Juneteenth flags with “buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken prominently displayed” around them. Gift bags included a small bottle of cognac and a Juneteenth commemorative cup. There were also photos of Democratic politicians, including City Councilman Mitch Gruber and members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board, on stakes in the grass.Democrat & Chronicle
Though the Nicosias are not the subject of Jones’s lawsuit, they were named in it and thus felt compelled to defend their reputations in a dingy hotel conference room this afternoon. Though it may be hard for you or I to see the wisdom in convening a press conference for the sole purpose of discussing the degrees to which you are or are not racist, that is only because we do not live in the same universe as the Nicosias. For a certain subset of Americans, looking into a camera and saying, “For these comments, I would like to apologize to the African-American community” verges on something like a birthright. It is their destiny.
The press conference began with Hogan, who carries himself like a malevolent beaver, walking attendees through a slideshow of images meant to disprove Jones’s characterization of the party as racist. During this portion of the event, Hogan made stirring arguments such as, “There’s 27,000 franchises of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the world. Four thousand in this country. Does everyone that pulls into a Kentucky Fried Chicken—that the Nicosias do, probably every couple of weeks—are they a racist?”
As thought-provoking as Hogan’s portion of the press conference was, things didn’t get really interesting until the introduction of the racist Twitter account. In the days since Jones’s lawsuit was filed, various Twitter users have claimed that a racist parody account with the handle @HoHoHomeboyROC belongs to Mary (she refused to answer a direct question about whether this was the handle on her account when asked to do so by a reporter at the end of the press conference). This resulted in Hogan ending his presentation, which again was dedicated to proving that Mary and her husband did not host a racist party, by admitting that, yes, Mary does in fact operate a racist Twitter account. Then it was time for Mary to step up to the mic and address this issue herself, which was hilarious on its own terms but also because she was wearing this jewelry get-up:
“I’m here to defend myself of all claims of racism,” is how Mary began her statement before hitting us with an all-time great but. “But before I do that, in full disclosure, I do have a Twitter parody account that operates under a veil of a persona, and I have made blatantly racist comments under that persona. The culture of Twitter operates that way, and part of its charm—I don’t want to say charm—it gives you an opportunity to be someone that you’re not, in terms of a persona.” That’s an interesting take on the situation, Mary, though perhaps someone else could look at this and make the argument that Twitter gives people like you the opportunity to be someone they very much are. Just something to think about!
Mary went on to do a bunch of crying about the “unbearable pain” that she and her family have felt as a result of this scandal. She got kicked off the board of directors of the Landmark Society! That’s like being murdered!
Then it was time for Nicholas to get up there and do his thing, which included him admitting that he had to look up the definition of “allegation.” And then he said “cancer culture” four times while trying to say “cancel culture.”
Hogan, Mary, and Nicholas then stood at the podium together to take questions. Right away, a reporter asked Hogan if the supposedly exculpatory photos that he showed everyone were taken on the day of the party, at which point Hogan admitted that he had taken the photos himself “about a week ago” after asking Mary and Nicholas to “re-create” how everything had looked the day the party was held, which I feel compelled to remind you was July 7. These fuckin’ people! You gotta laugh!