A video viewed more than a million times on YouTube since Tuesday shows a white woman flinging racial slurs at a black man outside a Cheektowaga strip mall.
The video, titled “Blatant Racism in Cheektowaga NY,” shows the woman repeatedly calling the man the “n-word” during an argument. (Abridged transcript here.) The woman’s two small children are standing with her outside a Dollar General store.
The video, shot May 30 according to its description, was recorded from the man’s perspective. He appears to be sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle outside the store.
“I have her on tape calling me racist comments,” the unidentified man said at the beginning of the recording.
His YouTube account name is IAMOYAB.
Janelle Ambrosia can be heard telling the man that her son “don’t like black people, either.”
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Ambrosia can also be heard telling the man he “scared [her] children.”
He responds, “By starting my car?”
Ambrosia used other curse words – in front of two children with her – as she shouted at the man.
Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack said he first learned of the video this morning after it was forwarded to the department anonymously.
“I reviewed the video and with 27 years of law enforcement, I have seen people at their worst. I’ve seen people with mental health issues, I’ve seen people under the influence of substances and I’ve also come across people who are out and out racist.
“That being said, without knowing more about this woman’s background, I feel that it would be irresponsible of me to form a premature judgment on her actions,” he said.
“If substance or mental health issues are not at play here, then her conduct should be considered as nothing less than deplorable. Clearly, there are some people in today’s society who have not yet evolved in their beliefs. As a society we obviously have more work to do,” Zack said.
When asked whether Ambrosia had committed a crime, the chief said, “There is possibly disorderly conduct that could possibly rise to the level of harassment, but both are violations.”
He said he has been flooded with media inquiries.
The four-minute, 22-second video was posted to YouTube Tuesday night. At 10 a.m. today, it had 195,700 views. By 2:15 p.m., it had 530,205 views. At 4:50, is had been viewed over 944,000 times. By 5:15, it had crossed the million-views mark. It also made the front page of Reddit, a social news website, and has been picked up by some websites both nationally and globally, including in the United Kingdom.
WBLK 93.7 this morning posted on its website an audio recording of its interview with Ambrosia, who told the radio station that the man taking the video almost hit her son with his car, which she said angered her.
She also said her use of the n-word had nothing to do with race, but meant an ignorant person.
“I’m not racist,” she told the radio station. “I have a black cousin.”
Ambrosia also said in the interview that she is bipolar and that the man called her a “crackheaded cracker.”
She later called WGRZ-TV and read a statement apologizing for her behavior.
“I am ashamed and embarrassed by my behavior the other day, especially in front of my children,” she said.
“It’s not who I am and what I truly believe in.
“I have been under my doctor’s care for mental health issues and was in the process of changing my medication,” Ambrosia said. “And I am not using that as an excuse but to let people further understand my frame of mind at the time. I am deeply sorry for my offensive behavior and the ignorant statements I made.”