About 10 protesters 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 — including activists affiliated with left-wing groups Our City PAC New York Communities for Change and Alliance for Quality Education — 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 approach to 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 YMCA — 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.
“It was a reference to the frustration that many people feel with the administration and politics as usual and business as usual,” he added. “We need to make a change.”
In response to the press conference hijacking, Yang’s campaign implied that rival Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, put the protesters 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.
“We had nothing to do with Andrew’s troubles — they were entirely of his own making,” said campaign spokesman Tyrone Stevens.
“Now that New Yorkers are on to his cons and gimmicks and turning on him, he’s making silly, sorry excuses.”