‘I’m not a misogynist’: Queens City Council candidate Steve Behar defends social media remarks against women

Steve Behar (Courtesy of Behar's campaign)

A Queens Democratic City Council candidate in the race to represent eastern Queens is defending himself after he was recently called out for his vulgar language on social media targeting women, including his opponent Linda Lee. 

Steve Behar, who is running to represent Council District 23, says he’s done nothing to be a misogynistic man, and that he has spent his whole life working on women’s issues and supporting women candidates. 

The New York Daily News had exposed Behar’s online behavior by showing numerous posts on Facebook.

In one of the posts, Behar allegedly called a local woman a “Nazi c**t.” In a statement, Behar said he will not apologize for standing up to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, further noting that he will “always stand up for my black and brown brothers and sisters against white supremacy” and for his Jewish family and friends against neo-Nazis. 

In another post, Behar called former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsey DeVos a “stupid b*tch,” which he says was in response to her statement on keeping guns in schools. 

“I’ve been blasting Republicans and Trumps for decades,” Behar told QNS. 

With just four days to go until the New York City primary election, Behar, who is Councilman Barry Grodenchik’s staff attorney, is seeking to represent Council District 23 which includes Bayside, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck Oakland Gardens, and Queens Village. 

Although Grodenchik is up for re-election, he is retiring from his seat in the Council and has endorsed Behar to replace him as the next council member for the district. While there are seven candidates vying for Grodenchik’s seat, the Behar campaign claims that one of their opponents, Linda Lee, has been “posting out-of-context tweets” and “feeding crazy nonsense” to the media, after a story was published labeling Behar as a sexist following his comment on Twitter on June 7. 

Behar had claimed that he is “the ONLY education candidate in the race” after receiving a shared endorsement from the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). While boasting about his work expanding capacity at local schools, Behar tweeted “2600 new school seats is better than ‘Vote for Me I’m a Mommy!’” 

In response, Tammy Osherov pointed out that the CSA endorsed Debra Markell alongside him, and that Lee, is endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers. According to Behar, his response was directed to Osherov and not Lee.

“That tweet had nothing to do with Linda. Rep. Grace Meng retweeted that tweet out-of-context to make me seem like a sexist,” Behar said. 

Meng had tweeted that she considers Behar a “friend” and “appreciates his efforts in helping Barry Grodenchik support our schools,” but told Behar to NOT ever underestimate a MOMMY.”

Lee had addressed the matter on Twitter

“Since starting this campaign I’ve tried to run positively and on my own accomplishments,” Lee said. “I’ve never mentioned my opponents other than in a positive light. I’ll continue to do so going forward, but I cannot stand by while someone lies about me to voters of D23.” 

In a statement to QNS, Lee’s Campaign Manager Asher Zlotniksaid Behar’s “unacceptable and misogynistic behavior is already a matter of fact and public record.” 

“Now he’s deflecting from his own misdeeds by attacking Linda Lee, who is running to be the first woman to hold this seat. Rather than pay more attention to Steve’s unfounded accusations, Linda will continue to run a positive, issues-driven campaign that addresses the needs of our community,” Zlotnik said. “Linda trusts the voters to decide for themselves who is fit for public office.”

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