A new video showing the son of one of New York’s most infamous landlords calling an Uber driver a “f**king fa**ot” has gone viral. The clip, shot on March 23, shows Jake Croman, a University of Michigan student and son of Steven Croman, verbally abusing driver Artur Zawada after Zawada apparently canceled Croman’s ride. The clip, which you can watch above, shows Croman telling Zawada that while the driver has to work, Croman is going to “sit on [his] ass and watch TV.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Croman Says He Was the Victim of an Anti-Semitic Diatribe From Zawada Prior to the Recording; a YouTube Commenter Made a Similar Claim
In a statement first released to Buzzfeed, Croman accused Arthur Zawada of being anti-semitic. The release read:
This video shows one side of an argument I had with an Uber driver two weeks ago after he refused to pick me up on the basis of my religion. I am not proud of my reaction to his discrimination and I regret my choice of words.
Shortly after the verbal altercation, I filed a complaint with the Ann Arbor police department and they are now dealing with the issue.
A YouTube commenter, Rebecca Weiss, appeared to back up Croman’s allegations, saying:
I am a sophomore at the university. I have had this uber driver before. I wrote several emails to uber about him to which they responded each time they would “deal with him”. This man, Artur, after seeing my name when I got in the car asked if I was Jewish.
I asked why it was any of his business. He said “You are. Your are one of them. You dirty Jew get out of my car I don’t want your dirty blood in here.” I was appalled and told him to take his anti Semitic beliefs back to nazi Germany. I emailed uber right away. The next time I had him, my friend had called the car. When we got in he seemed very angry.
Neither of us said anything for 6 minutes until he burst out saying, “This city is full of dirt of the earth kykes, I just had two of them in my car”.
I then realized it was him. I emailed uber once again. Good for this kid for standing up. Yes he used vulgar language but I’m sure what this asshole driver said to him was much worse. Thank you, to this kid who stood up to him.
For the record, here is the full text of Croman’s rant:
They don’t give a sh*t about you. They don’t give two f**ks. There’s 50 of you, and there is one of me here. Who spends the most money, you little f**k?
Yeah, f**k you, Artur, you little fa**ot f**k. You wanna kick me off? Kick me off, you little piece of shit. You’re an Uber driver.
Go f**king drive, you little f**k. Minimum wage fa**ot. Go f**k yourself.
You’re working all day? Guess what? I’m going to sit on my ass and watch TV. F**k you.
At the time of writing, the video has been viewed over 300,000 times on YouTube, where Zawada wrote that he has a 4.8 out of 5 rating from Uber.
In an interview with The Tab, the driver, Artur Zawada, said, “I have lived in this country for 30 years. To see someone have complete disregard for another human being — to be abused just because they overloaded the car or they are mean or rude, I have to put a stop for it. I was shocked. I was just in disbelief.”
He added that he had filed a report with the Ann Arbor police citing verbal harassment and flatly denied Croman’s allegation of anti-semitism.
2. Croman’s Father Is Under Investigation by the New York State’s Attorney for Allegedly Forcing People From Their Homes
Since 2014, Croman’s father, landlord Steven Croman, has been under investigation for allegedly trying to force tenants out of their rent stabilized homes, reports the New York Daily News. That investigation is being led by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The Croman family live in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of Manhattan on the Upper East Side. A 2002 New York Times feature on Steven Croman detailed his turning 23 apartments into a single mansion on East 72nd Street. It noted that the new home would include a computer room for Jake Croman.
Since 2014, authorities have been looking into Steven Croman’s business practices with his company 9300 Realty. He’s also accused of hiring a former cop, Anthony Falconite, to intimidate tenants into leaving their homes.
In response to Steven Croman’s alleged activities, his tenants formed an activist group called the Croman Tenants’ Alliance.
Croman Real Estate has a one-star rating on Yelp.
3. He Works as an Associate at His Father’s Real Estate Company
Online records show that Croman is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. A spokesman for the frat said:
Tau Kappa Epsilon has begun our investigation into the video which allegedly contains one of our members.
We are extremely disappointed by the individual’s demeaning words. As an organization founded on the personal worth and character of the individual, our members come from a wide range of diverse backgrounds of race, creed, and orientation.
At the conclusion of our swift, thorough investigation, we will handle the situation with appropriate action.
Depending on the details of the investigation, this could include the expulsion of membership.
A parody Facebook page has been set up in Croman’s honor. The profile photo is a picture of the iconic villain from The Simpsons, Mr. Burns. “Croman” says on his Facebook that he’s a native of New York City and now lives in Ann Arbor. “Croman” describes his education by calling himself a “Trust Fund Baby.” In the About section, “Croman” simply writes, “I’m rich, bitch.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Croman works as an associate at his father’s real estate company. On his Instagram page, Croman says he’s due to graduate in 2016. The Tab reports that he’s getting his degree from the university’s school of Literature, Science and Arts.
4. The Croman Family Have Been Referred to as ‘Limousine Liberals’ in the Past
A 2015 Village Voice feature on the Croman family detailed the Croman family’s political donations. Those include sizable funds given to the campaign of New York Senator Chuck Schumer. In that piece, one of Steven Croman’s tenants refers to the family as “limousine liberals.”
In 2013, a feature on Steven Croman by the New York Observer reported that the family have lived on the Upper East Side “for some time.” The article notes that Steven Croman and his wife, Harriet, have three sons, with Jake being the oldest.
5. The University of Michigan Has Launched an Investigation
The Michigan Review’s report on the incident states that Croman is being investigated over his rant but that no official action has been announced yet.
In a brief statement, the school said:
We have seen the video. Our dean of students has talked with both the Uber driver and the students. We are extremely disappointed in the behavior depicted in this video. No one should be treated with such disrespect.