A man who previously worked as an adviser to former President Barack Obama apologized after videos showed him harassing a Muslim food vendor.
Stuart Seldowitz, who served in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, was filmed calling the vendor a terrorist after approaching his food truck in New York City.
The 64-year-old was heard questioning the vendor over whether he had raped his own daughter while discussing the prophet Mohammed.
“Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?” Seldowitz asked. “Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed?”
In further remarks, Seldowitz suggested that the vendor and his family would be deported to Egypt and tortured by the country’s security services.
“The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents,” Seldowitz continued. “Does your father like his fingernails? They will take them out one-by-one.”
Incredibly, in a separate incident filmed by the vendor, Seldowitz even states that “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough.”
The videos went viral on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and led users to suggest that Seldowitz was the man in question.
In response to questions from the Daily Beast, Seldowitz confirmed that he was in fact the man from the video.
“The bottom line is, yes it’s me,” Seldowitz said.
The ex-diplomat claimed that the footage didn’t show the entire conversation and that the issue began when the vendor expressed support for Hamas.
“There should be some comment back to someone who is endorsing terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians,” Seldowitz argued.
Speaking with the New York Times on Tuesday, Seldowitz also denied having any prejudice towards Muslims.
“I’ve worked with Muslims,” he said. “I have many people who are Muslims and Arabs and so on, who know me very well and who know that I’m not prejudiced against them.”
In response to the controversy, Gotham Government Relations, a lobbying group where Seldowitz recently chaired, severed all ties with the former government official.
It remains unclear whether any legal action will be taken against Seldowitz. A New York police spokesperson, according to VICE, said that the department is aware of the footage and is “monitoring the situation.”