Leaked Emails Reveal Bill de Blasio Gets Kind of Dad-Feisty When His Staff Forgets to Help Him Speak Spanish

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

On Tuesday, notorious rag the New York Post took a swing at the king, publishing excerpts from emails sent by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to staffers and claiming that the emails proved beyond all doubt de Blasio is an “imperious bully of a boss who threatens his underlings with dire punishment if they fail to meet his demands.”


Spoilers: This particular political email controversy is really about two things. The first is that de Blasio is being continually foiled, like a feckless park ranger in a Hanna Barbera cartoon, in his quest to have his staff type out scripted remarks phonetically. The second is that Post readers apparently remain reliably willing to whip themselves into a frothy lather about some of the dumbest controversies on the planet.

In one of the emails, apparently written in relation to Upper East Side synagogue Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, de Blasio wrote:

This is literally the 100th time I am reminding you all that phonetic spellings require one syllable to be capitalized to indicate emphasis in pronunciation. I have no idea why you guys can’t get it. All of the folks in comms, speechwriting and my personal staff who looked at these remarks—it just takes ONE to catch it.


How can it be that none of you noticed the absence with the word Jeshurun. Work on quality control pls. Fix these remarks now pls. Example: pho-NET-ic.

In a later email with the completely unremarkable subject line “Guys, I’m fed up...”, de Blasio asked staff to please, for the love of god, just help him out with his Spanish like he asked a million times before:

I have raised the problem of inconsistency in providing phonetic pronunciation and in providing clearly delineated Spanish (with emphasis on the proper syllable) many, many times. And yet between all of you, you haven’t fix [sic] the problem, which is bluntly unprofessional.

One “City Hall source,” who is definitely not just some random disgruntled conservative, told the Post, “He’s condescending and arrogant. I’ve been in plenty of meetings with him. He’s known to kick staff out of meetings.”

These emails were sent in January and February of 2015, or roughly a year after de Blasio took office, so hopefully the mayor has located someone capable of following simple, written instructions to help him not look like an idiot by now. Because otherwise, de Blasio might need to mildly chastise you, without like, swearing or anything, and then someone might forward one or two of those emails to the Post.


Two years later.

Of course, this tailor-made-for-idiots email controversy is rich coming from this particular paper, which has published histrionic grievances about everything from lazy millennials, the need to crack down on the homeless, affirmative action, millennials that won’t vote for Donald Trump, CNN, the manifesto-writing Google engineer, construction scaffolding, politicians who don’t ride the subway and politicians who do ride the subway to anyone standing in Times Square. Can you even imagine how angry they’d be at those idiot bureaucrats in City Hall if they were embarrassing a Republican mayor? What a story that would be.


Also, didn’t the Post think leaking internal government documents was treason or something? Huh.

[New York Post]


Tom covers tech, politics, online extremism, and oddities for Gizmodo. His work has appeared on Mic, Yahoo News, AOL, HuffPo, Business Insider, Snoop Dogg's Merry Jane, Wonkette and The Daily Banter.


Bob The Builder

I am not sure if this is true, but Spanish has to be one of the easiest languages to learn to pronounce. Unlike English, the phonetics are consistent, so if you learn the basic rules, you probably have a better shot a pronouncing an unfamiliar Spanish word than an English one.