Mayor Eric Adams brushed aside bad press days after picking an activist with a checkered past as his “gun violence prevention czar,” instructing church-goers on Sunday to tell skeptics to “leave him alone.”
Speaking to congregants at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn, Adams slammed the pharmaceutical and food industries, claiming they profit off black Americans — before saying he’s been unfairly looted by the media.
“People have been making money off of us. … People have been making so much money off of us. Now, I come along. I am not fighting against policies; I’m fighting against their profit,” he said at the conclusion of the 18-minute speech. “And what I’m saying and doing is hurting the bottom line of those systems that have eaten off of us for years.
“So that’s why you see all those negative stories in the paper about me,” the mayor added. “That’s why you hear all those attacks. That’s why you hear the constant ‘why Eric should not have been mayor.’ That is what you’re hearing.”
While Hizzoner didn’t elaborate on the unflattering coverage, his address came four days after he appointed Andre T. Mitchell as his “gun violence czar,” tasked with reducing Big Apple shootings.
In 2019, the city Department of Investigation found that Mitchell’s nonprofit Cure Violence — which has received $26.6 million in city funding since 2010 — had significant financial irregularities.
A probe found that Mitchell allegedly used money from the group for personal use and gave jobs to family members, news outlet The City reported at the time. During the last two years, more than $15,000 from credit card and delivery sales raised by an East New York coffee shop run by the group ended up in Mitchell’s personal bank account.
The Brownsville-raised Mitchell — who was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 1988 for a killing that he says he did not commit — formed Man Up! more than a decade after being spoken in 1992.
On Sunday, Adams – whose base of support came from working- and middle-class parts of the outer boroughs during his mayoral Democratic primary victory last year – told the mostly black congregants of the Bedford-Stuyvesant church to tune out the negative press about him .
“And so when you have all those folks that are running around that look like us and buy into that philosophy, I need for you to say in a very godly way, ‘Negro, if you’re not going to help him, leave him alone and let him do his job,’” he said.
Also during his Sunday address, the mostly vegan mayor — who has said he reversed his Type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet — encouraged those in the pews to adopt healthy eating habits.
“It’s not in our DNA; it’s in our dinner. It’s not in our lineage; it’s in our lunch. It’s not where we were born; it’s our breakfast,” said the salubrious former state senator, comparing junk food to crack cocaine in its addictiveness. “When I woke up, and my vision loss went away, nerve damage went away, the ulcer went away. I mean, it was such a powerful moment that all I had to do was alter my life.”
“I dropped 35 pounds. I tell people I don’t have a six pack; I have a case. My body is tight now,” he added with a laugh.