Some Howard Beach residents are demanding an apology from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” producers and NBC for what they are calling an insult to the community.
On an episode of the show, “A Better Person,” which aired last Thursday, the character Sgt. Fin Tutuola, played by actor and rapper Ice-T, said Howard Beach is “racist, sexist and phobic of just about everything.”
The premise of the episode was that a killer went after transgender women, leading a grieving father to realize too late that he should have accepted his daughter for who she was, according to the television news site TV Fanatic.
A post on the Howard Beach Dads Facebook page following the episode’s airing garnered nearly 500 comments as of publication.
“What a horrible thing to say about any neighborhood,” commented one user.
Many called for a response from local elected officials.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) penned a letter to the network, SVU producers and actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays Captain Olivia Benson.
“We as a community are by no means anything like the words spoken, and to continue to label us as such is unfair and, in fact, defamatory,” Ariola wrote.
“This community deserves an apology and we eagerly await your response,” she said.
Her office has not yet received a response but got over 55 retweets of the letter.
“It has been decades since the specter of hatred unfairly labeled our community,” she said, referencing past racial bias attacks.
Others in the community had different perspectives on the episode.
“Respectfully, at the beginning of every show there is an entire disclaimer that the story is fictional,” said one Twitter user.
“While there are threads of truth borrowed from reality and inspiration taken from ‘real world’ events, it’s still a fictional television show.”
Another commented on the Facebook post, “Unfortunately exactly what he said is exactly how people act around here.”
NBC did not respond to a request for comment.