Jewish Poker Pro Reveals Recording of Antisemitic Comments From Fellow Players
A Jewish pro poker player exposed antisemitic statements made by fellow professionals in an audiotape obtained and published by the New York Daily News on Sunday.
Jaclynn Moskow said she was in Pittsburgh in November 2014 taping an episode of the popular TV show “Poker Night in America,” when host Chris Hanson, a professional poker player, told her, “The thing about ‘Poker Night’ that makes it so great is that there are no Jews. Every other show on TV has Jews.”
Moskow, 31, later confronted Hanson over his bigotry and recorded their conversation. According to a transcript of their talk, Moskow told Hanson, “You remember the other night…when I was telling all you… You guys were so nice and how great it was because you were from the Midwest, and you said like, ‘ah, yeah that the key was that, you know there are no Jews on this show,’ right?…I just wanted to let you know I’m Jewish.”
Hanson told the South Florida native he “didn’t mean anything by it” and apologized for his remarks, but later claimed he hadn’t said them.
“I deny I made any statement that could reasonably be construed as disparaging of any race, creed, color or religion,” Hanson said in a statement released by his attorney, Linda Kenney Baden. When told that Hanson’s conversation with Moskow was recorded, Baden insisted, “The statement stands.”
In another antisemitic encounter during her time in Pittsburgh, this time involving poker writer Nolan Dalla, Moskow said Dalla made sexist and antisemitic comments after burying his head in her breasts. She claimed Dalla, 54, told her, “I usually have strong opinions about Jews and Israel but somehow the fact that YOU are Jewish makes you even hotter.”
Moskow, who is also a doctor of osteopathic medicine, added that Dalla’s comments were cheered on by Chris Capra, a representative for “Poker Night in America” partner online network 888poker. Capra later apologized to Moskow for his part in the incident, and called Dalla’s and Hanson’s actions “inexcusable” in text messages that confirm Moskow’s claims, according to the Daily News.
Moskow said she continued playing poker and experiencing uncomfortable interactions with Todd Anderson, an executive at “Poker Night in America,” while remaining silent about her encounters with Hanson and Dalla. She faced pressure from fellow players not to come forward with her story and, after more than a year, she received a threatening letter from lawyers associated with 888poker. Moskow briefly negotiated with “Poker Night in America,” which she said offered to put her on future episodes and pay her up to $20,000, but she ultimately decided no amount of money was worth her silence.
“I was never close to signing an agreement,” she said. “The thought of never speaking out about what had happened was nauseating to me. Overall, this has been cathartic for me. I also hope my coming forward makes it easier for other women who have been put in similar situations to do the same. It’s already gotten people talking more about misogyny in poker and I think that’s a positive to come out of it.”
Dalla denied all of Moskow’s accusations in a long post on the poker forum “TwoPlusTwo,” and reached out directly to an editor at the Daily News, who asked him on social media about Moskow’s claims. Dalla said, “I’ve never been accused of such things. Terrible things. All untrue.”
Additionally, Dalla released a statement saying: “I unequivocally deny Jaclynn Moskow’s allegations of sexual assault and battery — which are accusations of serious crimes. They are horrific in light of the facts as she knows them. I was never sexually or physically aggressive, and contrary to her additional allegations of verbal impropriety, I never communicated or conversed with her in a disrespectful manner during the entire course of our contact.”
Anderson also released a statement refuting Moskow’s accusations, saying, “We can say no more than we have said before. By the time Ms. Moskow made her allegations, Mr. Dalla no longer worked on the show. Her claims are not substantiated.”