Andrew Yang’s stunt to troll Bill de Blasio backfired on Thursday, when the City Hall contender was chased away from the mayor’s gym in Park Slope by left-wing protestors before he could even speak.
About 10 protestors hoisting signs that read HEDGE FUND MAYOR,” “YANG = MORE COPS” and “DON’T RANK YANG ambushed the entrepreneur outside the Park Slope Y before a planned press event, leading the candidate to abandon the presser about three minutes after arriving and duck into a nearby subway station.
The progressive demonstrators shouted “Don’t rank Yang!” “Hedge fund mayor!” and “No more cops!” at the centrist mayoral hopeful who made a failed attempt at engaging with them.
“I just wanted to acknowledge them and say hello, really,” the composed Yang said, when asked why he bothered attempting to speak to the agitators.
But his friendly approaching of the protestors in Park Slope did not work, and the candidate fled the aborted press conference via the 9th Street subway station, where protestors continued chanting at Yang for a few minutes from the above ground.
Yang’s press conference outside the Park Slope Y — where before the pandemic de Blasio would go for leisurely, late-morning workouts — was meant as a symbolic jab at the mayor’s habits, the 46-year-old former test prep company executive said.
“We thought it would be something of a reference to the current mayor, and some of the sentiment people have had about a need for a change and a different approach,” Yang told reporters.
Yang’s campaign implied rival Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, put the protestors up to the disruption.
“Andrew doesn’t think we should defund the NYPD at a time of soaring gun violence — Scott Stringer’s campaign found the 7 people in Brooklyn who disagree in a desperate attempt to distract from his failing campaign,” said campaign spokesperson Jake Sporn.
A Stringer spokesman denied the protest was conducted at the left-wing candidate’s behest.
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh