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March 25, 2020 2:28 pm

New York Local DA Announces Discrimination Inquiry Into Car Dealership Where Hasidic Man Was Told, ‘You’re Spreading the Virus’

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Johnstons Toyota dealership in New Hampton, New York, refused to service to a Hasidic Jewish man, with an employee telling him, ‘You’re spreading the virus.’ Photo: Screenshot.

A New York car dealership that refused to honor a Hasidic Jewish man’s appointment by claiming he was “spreading” the coronavirus is now being investigated by the local district attorney for alleged antisemitic discrimination.

Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler announced on Tuesday that his office was conducting an inquiry into the incident at Johnstons Toyota in New Hampton, New York, on Monday.

As The Algemeiner and other news outlets reported on Tuesday, the Hasidic man — who filmed his encounter with a Johnstons employee on his cellphone — was ordered to leave the premises after being told, “You’re spreading the virus — you gotta go.”

As the Hasidic man protested, other customers were seen receiving service. His final question to the employee — “Why do I spread the virus more than other people?” — went unanswered.

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A statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday confirmed that Hoovler had spoken to the owner of the dealership.

“The owner stated that the dealership had not instructed their employees to refuse service to members of the Orthodox Jewish community and has since taken remedial action against the employees who were involved in the incident,” the statement noted. “The dealership acknowledged their obligation to provide service without regard to a customer’s religion.”

Citing New York State Civil Rights Law section 40, Hoovler said that no business “can withhold service from any person on account of their race, creed, color or national origin, even during this time of emergency.”

Hoovler continued: “While there may be an understandable fear of contracting the coronavirus, there is never an excuse to violate people’s civil rights due to their race, gender or religion. Every business, essential or not, that does treat people equally is liable for prosecution under New York’s Civil Rights Law. Now, more than ever, New Yorkers should treat each other equally and with respect and, most importantly, follow the law.”

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