Here’s what Sarah Jane Comrie could do to fix the Citi Bike situation, but she won’t

OPINION: Two weeks after her “Citi Bike Karen” incident with five Black teenagers was caught on video, the white woman at the center of it all could do the right thing and apologize.

Bellevue hospital woman, Sarah Jane Comrie, Citi Bike Karen,
Citi Bike rental bikes in New York city. Citi Bike is US largest bike share program with more than 12,000 bikes and 750 stations across Manhattan. (Photo Credit: Adobe Stock)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Earlier this week, I wrote “Accountability is like kryptonite to whiteness” in reference to the Sarah Jane Comrie, aka “Citi Bike Karen,” situation. 

I was addressing the way racist trolls have run all around the internet to make excuses for the way Sarah Jane Comrie weaponized her tears and her whiteness over a motorized Citi Bike on May 12. 

The incident was captured on video, and even with direct evidence of her actions — yelling “help” when she wasn’t in danger, snatching a teenager’s phone out of his hands and fake crying when her presumed “white knight” showed up — in 4K, people have managed to come up with every reason under the sun for why what she did was OK. 

“She’s pregnant and was tired after working a 12-hour shift.”

“She had the bike first.”

“She paid for it.”

Never mind that all the arguments about possession of the bike just derail from the actual problem in the video — her actions

At this point, the only reason there are so many debates over who had possession of the bike or who paid for it is that one side continues to use that as their crutch for everything else they say after. 

We aren’t upset about the bike. The “receipts” don’t matter. The bike doesn’t matter. Sarah Jane Comrie’s actions matter. 

We are upset because Sarah Jane Comrie chose to react in a way that was too over the top for the type of dispute that was happening at that moment. 

The boy’s side of the story has now come out, and we’ve learned that she initially asked three of the boys in the video if she could take their bikes, and after being told “no” by all three, she proceeded to try and commandeer the bike of the boy we see resisting her in the video. 

His side of the story makes her look so much worse. She comes off as entitled at the very least, but the history of white women weaponizing their whiteness and tears in the name of causing trouble for Black people is what has people — Black people in particular — on edge. 

This could have ended so much worse, and everyone involved in the situation knows that — including Sarah Jane Comrie. 

In taking those actions, we can assume that she was looking for that situation to end in another way, but it didn’t go as she planned. 

So now she is allegedly in hiding, according to her lawyer. She has been put on leave by her employer. And while the version of the narrative that paints her as a victim and paints five Black kids as “thugs” and “thieves” who “attacked” a poor innocent white woman continues to spin, she has said nothing. 

The only statements from her side have been made by her attorney. We have not heard from or seen Sarah Jane Comrie anywhere since we saw that video. 

And that’s a problem. 

If she wanted to fix this situation, she could easily make a statement herself. 

One way to switch the narrative would be to own up to her actions. She knows she overreacted to being told “no,” and she knows she was wrong. Her lawyer wouldn’t be spinning the “health care worker/COVID hero to the poors and the coloreds” narrative if they both were not aware of the mere optics of all of this. 

She knows that she comes off looking extremely racist. If, as her attorney says, she is not racist, she should come forward and tell us that. 

She should come forward and acknowledge that as an adult in her 30s, she completely mishandled a situation involving teenagers. She could acknowledge that it was wrong of her to invade his personal space and snatch his phone out of his hand. 

She could also come forward and disavow the rabid, racist mob that has been championing her cause and terrorizing people across the internet with their hate speech. 

What that group is doing online is akin to the way the white men in the town would group together to terrorize someone behind something a white woman said — true or not. 

The only difference is their racial terror and harassment is performed online. It doesn’t make it any less damaging, hurtful or hateful. 

She should come forward and denounce that this is happening in her name — if she is really not a racist. 

Her GoFundMe has also been championed by the racist mob, and many of them have bragged about giving to it as a means of “owning” the libs and showing their hate toward those five Black boys. 

If she were right, she would come forward and speak out against that as well. 

She would also go the further step of giving the money to the boy in question. After all, she hasn’t been defamed; people have rightfully called her out for the behavior she displayed in that video. 

If anyone has defamed Sarah Jane Comrie, it is Sarah Jane Comrie herself, and she should own that, too. 

But you know how whiteness is. You know how pride is. You know how hard it is for them to let go of a narrative and admit when they are wrong. 

You can see it all over the internet right now as the racist mob crafts a new narrative to continue to cast that boy as the villain in a story that Sarah Jane Comrie wrote. 

Because that’s how whiteness works. 

And if Sarah Jane Comrie is really not a racist Karen, if she really isn’t Carolyn Bryant in training, she would come out, be honest and change the narrative herself. 

But she won’t. 

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

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