Meet 'Hallway Harry,' a white man accusing a black neighbor of not living in the building they share
A white man’s unwarranted interrogation of his black neighbor in the lobby of an Upper East Side apartment building has sparked outrage over yet another apparent example of harassment of people of color.
The confrontation last Wednesday between Chika Okafor, a producer for Bleacher Report, and the still-unidentified man was posted to social media. It’s been viewed more than 1 million times.
“I was racially profiled in my apartment complex last night. While I was with my friend Cassius Flemming waiting for a Lyft ride on the first floor of the building that I have lived in since mid-December of last year, this man interrogated me about where I live,” Okafor wrote on Facebook.
“As you can see, he thought that he was entitled to know who I was and where I lived simply because, according to him, he lived there for 27 years. The arrogance is appalling but honestly, not surprising because far too many times people of color have been victims of this kind of behavior.”
The post yielded an array of comments about the ugly attitude of the man nicknamed by one commenter “Hallway Harry.”
“What are you doing in my building? You don’t live here,” the man says.
“Oh you’re smooth. You’re the smooth king.”
The argument ended when Okafor and his friend left the lobby to catch a Lyft.
“I strongly believe in this case race was involved,” Okafor, 29, said.
“Me and my friend were inside the building. We had access to it. And the first thing he says to us is, ‘who are you guys?’”
The episode was reminiscent of other white people confronting people of color for no legitimate reason. “BBQ Becky,” “Cornerstore Caroline,” “Golfcart Gail” and “Permit Patty” sparked rampant online outrage and protests.
Additional videos posted to Facebook show that the man who menaced Okafor and his friend also bullied a white family visiting from Hong Kong. The footage indicated the man suspected the family was renting a short-term apartment through Airbnb.
Okafor said he’d never seen the man before. Okafor had nothing to say to the man if they cross paths in the future.
“I do think he owes my friend and I an apology for his disrespectful behavior. He should be kicked out,” Okafor said.
“He has no authority to do what he did. You don’t walk up to a complete stranger and start questioning them, expecting them to give you their personal info.”