Emma Sarley is a New York woman who was fired by Bevy after she was accused of telling a Black couple to stay in their “hood” at a Brooklyn dog park in a viral video posted by Frederick Joseph. The video also shows Sarley trying to smack the phone out of Joseph’s hand as he recorded her. Joseph was at McCarren Park with his fiancée, Porsche Landon, when the incident occurred in Williamsburg on September 25, 2021.
“At the dog park in Brooklyn with my fiancé and this white woman was threatening to call police and told us to ‘stay in our hood’ because she had our dog confused with another dog who had been barking loudly,” Joseph, a New York Times Bestselling author and marketing strategist, tweeted. “So, I started recording and she tried to slap the phone out my hand.”
Sarley, 28, was identified by other social media users after being dubbed the “Dog Park Karen” and then lost her job at Bevy, a virtual conference and community events software platform company based in Palo Alto, California, after its CEO learned of the viral video. Bevy CEO Derek Anderson tweeted, “@BevyHQhas zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior of any kind. Yesterday an employee engaged in behavior contrary to our values and has been terminated. We apologize deeply to all involved. I personally hope some type of resolution can happen between the two parties beyond this and will help if I can.”
Anderson added on Twitter, “Spoke with @FredTJoseph about his and his fiancé’s horrific experience from last night. So sorry to them for what has happened. No one should treat people the way we witnessed. This is extremely troubling.”
Sarley could not immediately be reached for comment by Heavy. But she issued a statement to the New York Post saying, “My reference to ‘back to your hood’ only referred to another dog park outside of this neighborhood park. I was frustrated and upset, but to be clear – I had no intended racial undertones in my comments whatsoever. I said it because it’s an unstated rule at our local park that when a dog is being aggressive, owners immediately remove them so it can be a calm, welcoming environment for everyone else. However, I fully understand how my words could’ve been interpreted and I deeply wish I had chosen them more carefully. A brief and thoughtless moment in my life has now led to nationwide outrage and hurt. For that, I am sorry.”
Here’s what you need to know about Emma Sarley and the viral video:
1. The Video Shows Sarley Giving Joseph & His Fiancee the Middle Finger & a Man Telling Joseph He Heard Sarley Make the ‘Hood’ Comment
Joseph posted the 27-second video on Twitter on September 25, 2021. The video shows Sarley near a dog park fence gate as Joseph records her, saying “stay in our hood? No, no, no, no, no.” Sarley then says something to Joseph and sticks up her middle finger toward his phone, before trying to grab it and smack it out of his hand. Joseph then says, “stay in our hood? stay in our hood? I’m sorry, what?”
After Sarley says, “did you just say that to me?” Joseph replies, “You just told us to leave the dog park and stay in our hood.” Joseph then turns to an man and says, “You were right here and watched this entire thing, did she just not tell us to stay in our hood?” The man replies, “she did,” as the video ends with Sarley and her dog walking away.
The man, identified as Steve Tracy, told CBS New York, “As those words were coming out and things started to unfold, it was pretty obvious to me, like, this is… this is not OK.”
Joseph added on Twitter, “And for those asking, this was in Williamsburg and she was screaming ‘river, come on so guessing her dog’s name is river. … And for others who are saying one of us should have put hands on her… all that would have resulted in is one or both of us in jail and potentially me shot by police.” Joseph later tweeted, “Update: Someone on my Instagram seems to have found her. Her name is Emma Sarley. Yeah, unless she has a twin who lives in Brooklyn, this is her.”
The NYPD told the New York Post it was looking into the incident but did not say if a report was filed. According to the Post, Sarley said in her statement, issued through a public relations firm, that she never called police or threatened to call police or 911 during the incident and denied going on a “tirade.” She apologized in the PR statement and said she accepted responsibility for not handling things differently, the newspaper reports.
As the dog owners followed me down the street with the phone camera on, I was filled with some panic because I’ve never been in an altercation like this and reacted in an inappropriate way,” she said. “That’s what you witnessed on that tape.
“As the dog owners followed me down the street with the phone camera on, I was filled with some panic because I’ve never been in an altercation like this and reacted in an inappropriate way. That’s what you witnessed on that tape. I’ve lived in New York City for a decade, my Brooklyn neighborhood and dog park is extremely diverse, something I truly love about this city, and I never meant for my words to contribute to pain for anyone,” she said in her statement, according to the Post. “I truly hope we can find understanding and a peaceful resolution to this, for everyone involved.”
2. Sarley Worked as an Enterprise Account Executive at Bevy, a Job She Started in August 2021
After Joseph posted the video on Twitter and learned Sarley worked as an enterprise account executive at Bevy from her now-deleted LinkedIn profile, Joseph tweeted at Bevy’s CEO, “Hey @DerekjAndersen I see that @BevyHQ is attempting to be better about race, equity, etc. Thought you should see this. I’m hoping Black colleagues and peers don’t have to face this sort of racism from Emma.” The two then had a private conversation before Andersen announced Sarley was no longer working at his company.
Sarley had worked at Bevy since August 2021. Joseph tweeted, “Emma has been terminated. I do hope people learn that there are consequences for their behavior, and take the chance to be better.”
Andersen has received some backlash to his decision to fire Sarley over the viral video and his statement that he would help to work out a resolution between Sarley and Joseph, despite terminating her from his company.
When the firing was compared to that of Amy Cooper, who went viral after calling police during an incident in Central Park with a Black birdwatcher and is now suing her former employer, Anderson tweeted, “Do what is right; let the consequences follow.”
Insider columnist Josh Barro tweeted, “Summarily firing your employee over an extra-professional dispute and then IMMEDIATELY offering to somehow help resolve (?) the dispute between two people who now both don’t work for you is an amazing example of Silicon Valley founder arrogance. ‘What this situation needs is me.’ I think you’ve helped enough, Derek. Maybe they can have a restorative justice hackathon.”
3. Sarley Previously Worked in Communications & Marketing at Several Companies & Graduated From New York University in 2015
Sarley graduated from New York University in 2015 with a degree in nutrition and food science and a minor in business studies, according to her since-deleted LinkedIn profile. While at NYU, Sarley was an intern at Hearst, the James Beard Foundation, the Sam Francis Foundation, Food Forward, Good Housekeeping and Saveur.
Sarley previously worked at Mercato, a grocery e-commerce company, as an account executive and senior enterprise account executive, until 2020, and was a marketing manager at Restaurant Associates from 2015 to 2018. Her LinkedIn profile’s “About” section stated, “Natural born leader. Results driven and easy to adapt with experience in the fast paced tech start up world. Strives to enhance team efficiencies & deliver quality work.”
Joseph, who was a campaign surrogate for Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, also studied at NYU, graduating in 2016 with an MBA focusing on marketing, according to his LinkedIn profile. Joseph previously went viral in September 2020 after posting a series of tweets about being uncomfortable at an Airbnb because of “seemingly satanic items,” according to Vice. Alex, the Airbnb’s owner, told Vice, “They [the items] are not Satani. They’re kitsch. None of it is occult. You can get this stuff at a bodega.”
4. Sarley Is a California Native Who Attended Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles
Sarley was born and raised in Glendale, California, according to public records. On LinkedIn, Sarley said she graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
Joseph told CBS New York, “She’s like, ‘You’re not from around here. Go back to your hood. Stay in your hood. Stay in your hood.’ So I’m like, ‘Stay in my hood?’ Right, like? ‘You’re being racist right now,’ and she’s like, ‘I’m not being racist.'” He added, “I tried to explain, like, ‘I think you have the wrong dog,’ and then she just starts, like, going completely out of left field. At that point, I’m like, look, what you’re doing is deeply, deeply offensive, deeply racist, and I want to get this on camera because I don’t want there to be any misconceptions about what took place here.
Landon told the news station, “She was saying a lot of things, and that’s when, like, finally, like, ‘You guys need to take your dog out of here. You people shouldn’t even be here,'” CBS New York said they tracked down Sarley and she told them, “No thank you. No comment.”
5. Joseph Said on Twitter He & His Fiance Have Been Receiving Death Threats & Wrote ‘Racism Should Be Intolerable’
Joseph wrote on Twitter on September 27, “Over the past day or so, Porsche and I have been receiving death threats and hateful messages in defense of the white woman who launched a racist tirade against us at the dog park. Beyond considering the trauma of the moments itself and now the trauma that has followed — we have also been considering a few questions as well.”
Joseph wrote, “What exactly do people expect the consequences of racism to be? Why do some people expect there to be no consequences at all? Why are people arguing about whether she was potentially justified? Racism should be intolerable, regardless where it manifests. People continue to commit certain acts because they can do so without ramifications. Racism in a dog park could easily be racism in the workplace or elsewhere. If she respected us or Black people as a whole, not only would she have not done what she did — she would have attempted to apologize.”
Joseph added, “Whether she was wrong about our dog or right about our dog, she had no right to racially assault us or weaponize her whiteness. I say all of that to say this, people should consider within themselves why there is such a normalization of racist behavior, an expectation of lack of recourse and a shield of white supremacy now defending her and threatening to take our lives.”
Joseph wrote the New York Times bestseller “The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Person” in December 2020, according to his website. “Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now,” his website says. “Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, ‘reverse racism’ to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former ‘token Black kid’ who now presents himself as the friend many readers need.”
Joseph’s second book “Patriarchy Blues and Better Than We Found It” is set to be released in 2022. Andersen tweeted that he was had bought Joseph’s book. “Great idea. I already downloaded it this morning and have been listening to it in between calls. Love to have him at @BevyHQ when he’s feeling up for it,” the CEO tweeted.
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