The drama between Third District congressional candidates Michael Weinstock and Melanie D’Arrigo reached an apex after Weinstock posted to his personal Facebook page that “if [D’Arrigo] were a man, I’d consider giving her a good old-fashioned throat punch.”
The post appeared following weeks of accusations between the Long Islanders looking to challenge Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Nassau, Suffolk, Queens) in the upcoming June 23 Democratic primary for the seat that contains several northern Queens neighborhoods.
The drama took off after D’Arrigo filed objections against Weinstock’s petitions, which she told the Chronicle was recommended as part of her campaign because Weinstock didn’t have enough signatures. D’Arrigo referred to a press release put out by Weinstock on March 13, that stated, “If people want to sign my petition and they also want to keep their distance, I’ll sign the form on their behalf, with a great big asterisk next to that person’s name, with an explanation ... If team Suozzi files a lawsuit to knock me off the ballot, I’m pretty sure that the judge will decide that my compromise was perfectly reasonable under the circumstance.”
D’Arrigo said she planned to file an objection against Suozzi as well, but her team accidentally filed it against herself instead of against the incumbent congressman. Weinstock claimed the mistake was an intentional scheme in order to hide her attempts to kick him off the ballot.
In the Facebook post, Weinstock referred to the filing as a “stunt” that “deliberately put me and my family at risk” because he had to visit the post office twice in three days to counter her challenges, an act that he said warranted a throat punch.
“As you would imagine, I was very upset at Ms D’arrigo. She filed five lawsuits against me during a pandemic. Each one of these lawsuits not only risked my life but D’arrigo deliberately risked the lives of the Board of Elections staffers who were required to respond to her fakakta lawsuits,” Weinstock told the Chronicle in an email, adding that one lawsuit was illegally served to him, an observant Jew, on shabbat. He said the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the case, but D’Arrigo appealed, forcing Weinstock to appear before the state Appellate Court in Albany via Skype and assert his religiosity.
“That was the ‘stunt’ that I referenced in my private Facebook message,” Weinstock said. “I was very upset [at] Ms D’arrigo for deliberately risking my safety — as well and the safety of my family and the Board of Elections staffers. And, of course, she called me a Bad Jew and a Bullsh-t Artist.”
D’Arrigo said the name-calling accusation “is absolutely false. I would never judge someone for their religion. The fact that Mr. Weinstock is attempting to weaponize Judaism in a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise is unconscionable.”
D’Arrigo said she never received an apology from Weinstock, though he did tell the Chronicle that his “comment on Facebook was obviously foolish and I’m sorry I said it. I was exhausted and cranky,” adding that he’d welcome the opportunity to correct the record. D’Arrigo fired back, saying the behavior was “abhorrent,” not foolish.
“Shrugging it off without taking responsibility for one’s actions is exactly what we don’t need at the Federal level,” she said. “There was no stunt. Weinstock did not do the necessary work to organize, did not collect enough valid signatures and instead submitted fraudulent signatures.”
In addition to the comment by Weinstock, a death threat against D’Arrigo was posted by someone onto Weinstock’s Facebook page, which she says Weinstock failed to remove. D’Arrigo is planning on filing a police report because “you can’t be too careful” when it comes to the internet.
“He retaliated by lying and inciting violence,” she said. “What I think is particularly egregious is that he normalizes violence against women ... I think it’s wildly inappropriate and that a person who does so has no business serving the public and serving women.”
Julie Kirshner, president of the National Organization for Women of New York State’s Brooklyn-Queens chapter, told the Chronicle in an email that the organization, which endorsed D’Arrigo on May 5, “condemns the threats expressed by Mr. Weinstock towards his opponent, Ms. D’Arrigo. His words could promote violence against women (Ms. D’Arrigo in particular) and echo the hate speech of our President. Shameful!”