Politician promises ‘Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons’ at Harlem campaign event

A New York State Senate candidate has sparked outrage after a proposed campaign event in Harlem promised “Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons.”

Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate for New York’s 30th District, used the promise of the free food in an email to the I-Team in discussing a real estate dispute.

“Ps I’m hosting an event in Harlem which will be in front of the state building in a few weeks. We will [donate] Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons to the public on 125th street in Harlem. Please join us to help the community,” he wrote.

Girodes, who has headlined his campaign website with an image of Martin Luther King, Jr., said that the message was not racist.

“What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor,” Girodes told the I-Team. “Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”

But Democratic New York State Sen. Bill Perkins denounced the email as racist an ignorant, saying, “I think it’s important to out [Girodes’ remarks] not just to denounce him but to set a tone in this neighborhood and in this city that this type of offense does not go unchallenged.”

The Republican Party has not backed Girodes in his candidacy, and he has no support from the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee or the party establishment in New York City.