Former Obama National Security Advisor Stuart Seldowitz was arrested on Wednesday after videos of him berating and insulting a halal cart vendor in New York City was posted on X and went viral.
Seldowitz pleaded not guilty on Thursday to two counts of fourth-degree hate crime/stalking and one count of second-degree aggravated harassment.
He was released without bail after the arraignment.
Seldowitz harassed the Egyptian vendor on what seems like at least two different occasions, according to videos posted on X, calling him a terrorist and making other Islamophobic comments.
Just watch this abhorrent bigot and white supremacist Zionist, a former advisor to the White House - Stuart Seldowitz. He is terrorizing and harassing this Egyptian Halal cart owner in Manhattan every day.
Zionism=mental illness pt.3#GazaGenocide pic.twitter.com/LncapCmq1X
— Ania Lewandovska🔻 (@Anna_AnninaEl) November 21, 2023
Seldowitz admitted before his arrest that it was him in the videos, in which he accused the vendor of "killing little children" even though there is no known link between the vendor and Hamas.
When the vendor tried to argue, Seldowitz said, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough."
The vendor asked him repeatedly to leave and said he would call the police if the harassment didn't stop.
A lobbying firm, Gotham Government relation, has cut ties with Seldowitz because of his actions.
“The video of his actions is vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm,” the statement read. The CEO of the firm even offered to represent the cart owner in suing Seldowitz.
The actions are part of a rise in anti-Islam rhetoric in America that has been seen since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and slaughtered 1,200 Israelis, many of them women and children.
The war has inflamed Americans on both sides, with some supporting Israel and some supporting Hamas.
Seldowitz served as acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate from February 2009 to January 2011 while Obama was president and before Obama was elected in the early 2000s.