An article in the New York Post is drawing criticism online for its "mean" and "terrible" description of a homeless man who was caught taking food from a grocery store buffet.
The story, published on Dec. 30, 2019, features photos of a man eating directly from the hot bar at a Whole Foods in midtown Manhattan, as well as interviews with employees who describe his behavior as a regular occurrence.
"Oh, he comes here all the time," one employee told the Post regarding the man. "We can’t do anything about it, we were told."
But some language in the story sparked outrage among social media users, who took issue with the Post's portrayal of the reportedly homeless man, as well as its decision to publicize his circumstances.
The article, titled, "Homeless man turns Manhattan Whole Foods into his personal hot bar" refers to the unnamed man as "drooling and pungent" with "visibly dirty mitts" and a mouth that was "wet with drool and framed by a scraggly beard."
"This is one of the meanest things I've ever read, and the @nypost should be ashamed. People are people, y'all. Go into 2020 remembering that, please," Houston Chronicle journalist Maggie Gordon tweeted about the story.
"I would be ashamed to have my name on that byline. Terrible. Also why did they have to toss the food, could they not have just given it to the homeless man. Such food waste," another user wrote.
I would be ashamed to have my name on that byline. Terrible. Also why did they have to toss the food, could they not have just given it to the homeless man. Such food waste.
— Rachel Rhee (@justdimpleit) January 1, 2020
However, other internet users were far more supportive of the article, arguing that it was important for readers to be informed about a potential public health issue.
"All fun, games, and compassion until you learn he or others has Hepatitis, right?" one Twitter user wrote. "Buy him food if you are so inclined (and we should all help as able), but not at the expense of common health-based precautions."
"People have a right to know that’s going on, but they should have blurred his face and done without the name-calling. That’s where it turned mean," another wrote.
All fun, games, and compassion until you learn he or others has Hepatitis, right?
Buy him food if you are so inclined (and we should all help as able), but not at the expense of common health based precautions.
— Sandy 〽️ (@RightGlockMom) January 1, 2020
Other users suggested that the man should be arrested for stealing from the buffet, although some argued that the piece lacked sympathy for his possible motivations.
"I would like to call out ALL THREE of these @nypost "reporters" for their LESS THAN COMPASSIONATE portrayal of both this homeless man, and the issue of his being so hungry he disobeyed the rules clearly displayed. Try being in his shoes," another Twitter user commented.
In The Know reached out to the New York Post for comment, but has not yet received a response.