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Eric Adams

New Yorkers React to Eric Adams Reacting to Someone Saying ‘Fuck You’

Why did he say that???

NYC Mayor Eric Adams in a white polo shirt, speaking before a podium.

(Ed Reed / Mayoral Photography Office)

On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams said something weird. That's not super unusual. Adams, who found bullets behind a picture frame, who got his ear pierced at Claire's, who thinks the city is powered by subterranean crystals and that God anointed him to be its mayor, and who will not drop his very specific walk-up music, is a strange guy. But this particular comment, in response to a heckler who yelled at him in the middle of a Midtown press conference, is a real headscratcher. 

The exchange, which you can watch for yourself in the tweet below, went as follows. While Adams was answering a question from someone off-camera, someone else can be heard saying: "Fuck Eric Adams! Fuck you, asshole!" Adams, smiling, says, "Oh, thank you," drowning out the remainder of the heckler's remarks, although it seems they said, "You're fucking with homeless people." Still smiling, Adams then says: "She said I'm messing with homeless people, you know that?" before adding, "One should be happy if someone wants to make love to them, you know?" The assembled crowd laughs uneasily in response.

Why would the mayor say something like that? (We reached out to the Mayor's Office for comment, but no response.)

The joke isn't totally illegible—but it is somewhat disconcerting to see this kind of middle school-level "I know you are, but what am I?" humor from the man in charge of the most important city in the world. Why didn't he just stop at "thank you"? Why did he feel the need to say anything at all? "Make love"??????????? Ack.

Honestly, we couldn't stop thinking about how fucking bizarre of a response this was (it's hot out and our minds are screwy right now, OK?)—and we wanted to know if other New Yorkers were as confused and weirded out as we were.

So we took to the streets, armed with this weird video, and asked people what they thought. Here are a few of their reactions after we, unfortunately for these unsuspecting viewers, played them the clip. 

Tobi, 24, and Tristan, 27, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Tobi: Oh my God!

Tristan: It's fucking nuts. The audacity…

Tobi: I was like, already uncomfortable from his facial reaction, and then he opened his mouth and it got worse.

Hell Gate: He often says things that are strange, but this…I cannot parse it. 

Tobi: I don't know why he would think that would ever be appropriate to say, regardless of how he intended it to come off.

If you were trying to make sense of it, what's the best interpretation you have of what he was thinking?

Tristan: "I'm cool, I can make jokes!" That was quite the joke to make, but, y'know, he tried it. 

Do you think he should make better jokes? 

Tristan: I mean, I already thought he was a joke so this just seals the deal. 

Tobi: It makes me feel like he's not taking peoples' lives seriously and it's all a joke to him. 

Tristan: He does make some weird comments and you're like, what're you doing here? Where's the PR team? 

Tobi: They're sitting in the audience just clutching their chests, going, please stop.

Tristan: Cut the mic!

Mohammad, Park Slope

Mohammad: I don't like this kind of heckling, this way. You wanna disagree with Eric Adams or anybody else, really, you can always express it, phrase it differently. 

Hell Gate: What do you think about his response? 

Kind of to be expected, in a way. It's the kind of thing you want to be cool about, you know? Play it down. So I think it was decent, reasonable. 

How would you want to respond, if you were the mayor, and somebody said the same thing to you—"Fuck you," or "Go fuck yourself!"

Maybe the same way? 


Yeah, maybe. I'd have to be there to know for sure. 

Derrick, 63, retired former Department of Correction employee, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Hell Gate: Do you think that was an appropriate thing for him to say?

Definitely not, definitely not. It doesn't make sense. If you're gonna make an assessment of it, it's weird.

What would you have said if someone told you to go fuck off, if you were the mayor?

Yeah, I would've ignored the heckler.

You have to be above all that a little bit, right? 

Right, right, you don't have everybody's support. So therefore, you have to take the pros and the cons. You're in for the elected time that you're there. But remember, there's still people out there who are against your policies and that's something you have to accept and entertain and act appropriately.

What do you think about Eric Adams in general as our mayor?

He's flamboyant. He likes to be in the cameras, as you can see. He's like a celebrity mayor. He likes to be in the limelight. He wants to be projected as the king of New York, so to speak.

It's something I don't appreciate. He should live like normal people and interject what normal people are facing throughout the crisis of this city. He's out of touch with the people who need his services for New York. It's like, he forgot where he came from. 

I remember when he was with [100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care]. I mean, he was more proactive in that than he is right now. He was doing more then than he's doing now.

Did you vote for Eric Adams? 

Absolutely, yes I did. It was him or Curtis Sliwa, so you pick the poison.

Would you vote for him again?

No. I'd like to see more candidates go up there, now that I know what I know. I gave him a shot for four years. I don't want another four years of this.

Akino, 32, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Hell Gate: So, you busted out laughing just now. Why?

Akino: I wasn't expecting that response at all. It's definitely weird. It's way out of context of the actual issue, but that was actually pretty funny. 

Say you're the mayor, and someone heckles you like that—what would you do?

The appropriate response to that? I mean, ignore it and continue to do what you're doing. Rise above the nonsense. Doesn't matter what line of work you're in, somebody will have a problem with what you're doing, period. 

What do you think it says about Eric Adams just as a person, that that's how he would respond to being heckled like that?

Nothing good, to be completely honest. I don't know if it's an immature thing or more or less a street thing, like, when somebody comes at you, you just say whatever that's on your mind. That definitely wasn't professional at all.

Danny, Park Slope

Danny: I think it's quite funny, you know, I know. He's a great talker. And you could see that he's trying to react in a positive way. But obviously, it's not happening. I think his facade's falling away and people are really realizing who he is. 

Hell Gate: It's just such a weird response!

​He's trying to be clever with it and come up with something really fast, and it's not working. 

You mentioned that you used to work in the Mayor's Office under Adams, as well as Bloomberg and de Blasio—what do you think of Eric Adams?

I think he's a great guy, but I don't know if him being a mayor is the best place for him. Obviously, you could tell when somebody's passionate about it, they're really into it. And they're really talking about what steps they're taking to make change. And the ones that aren't into it, obviously, you can tell. 

Do you think he's passionate about being the mayor?

The people around him are passionate. They're moving forward. He's just the face.

What did you mean when you said the facade was "falling away?" 

He came in, and he was really good about, you know, saying what he'll do to change things. But I mean, have you really noticed anything changing?

Can I ask if you voted for him the first time?

I don't even think I voted, period. I think it's all bullshit, you know? It's all deep state. As long as you're living your life, and you're being true to yourself, nothing outside, any government, can affect you.

Additional reporting by Esther Wang.

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