‘I Was A Cook’: NYC Mayor Eric Adams Explains Low-Skill Workers Comments

In Summary

The New York mayor made some controversial comments that sent social media shockwaves. Eric Adams addressed his choice of words Thursday. 

Six million people watched the video of New York City Mayor Eric Adams standing at the podium, classifying specific worker demographics as “low-skill workers.”  

“Low skill workers like cooks, messengers and Dunkin’ Donuts employees don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office,” Adams said to a pool of reporters.  

Adams, 61, said his remarks were distorted and explained how he once served in the roles he belittled during a Wednesday appearance on CBS This Morning.  

“Listen, I was a cook, I was a dishwasher,” Adams tweeted. https://twitter.com/NYCMayor/status/1478792811818500101?s=20  

During his time on CBS This Morning, he said, “The goal is we need to open the city so low-wage employees are able to survive. People are going to try to take everything I say and distort it, but I’m focused, I’m disciplined, and I’m grinding to bring my city back.”  

In his initial controversial remark, Adams’ goal was to hit home the significance of people returning to their office jobs in his choice words, and added how remote work puts the industry in danger.  

“I don’t know if my businesses are sharing with their employees, ‘You are part of the ecosystem of this city,’” Adams said. “My low-skill workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those that work in Dunkin’ Donuts, they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office. They need this.”  

He added, “That accountant—I need him to go to the cleaners. I need him to go down to Dunkin’ Donuts. I need him to go to the restaurant. I need him to bring in the business traveling,” he continued. “And if we say that, ‘Well, I don’t have to go in. I’m still getting my salary,’ then you are not helping those New Yorkers who need us to come in.”  

Adams was met with a wave of criticism, one coming from New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.   

“The suggestion that any job is ‘low skill’ is a myth perpetuated by wealthy interests to justify inhumane working conditions, little/no healthcare, and low wages,” AOC tweeted, who has been mocked for being a bartender and waitress. “Plus being a waitress has made me and many others *better* at our jobs than those who’ve never known that life.” 

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