A new lawsuit alleges this colorful mural of a rooster is actually a nefarious Santeria curse perpetrated by Melissa Mark-Viverito, the frontrunner to become New York City council speaker, against a political opponent.
In the lawsuit, Gwen Goodwin details what she believes the bird really was.
The mural depicted a decapitated and wooden-sword-stabbed bird of prey, on information and belief, and according to neighbors of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolize typically to many Jews or African Americans, respectively.
Mark-Viverito was involved as the head of Los Muros Hablan, an urban-art campaign launched last summer to celebrate Latino culture by painting murals on walls across the five boroughs.
Goodwin, who came in sixth in the Democratic primary, 26 points behind Viverito, said the intended purpose of the mural was to inflict harm on her and it worked.
"These desperate and ridiculous allegations by a failed political opponent of Melissa are false, absurd and a waste of the court’s precious time," said Mark-Viverito's spokesman Eric Koch.
The councilwoman took it all in stride.
She retweeted outrage from supporters.
Community leaders, including the founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, Angelo Falcón, came to her defense, blasting the stories by major New York tabloids.
Both the New York Post and the Daily News owe not only Melissa Mark Viverito, but the whole Puerto Rican and Caribbean population of this city an apology for this disgusting stereotyping and partisan political reporting.
h/t: Latino Rebels
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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