New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently compared an elderly woman to a plantation owner at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

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After the incident, Adams drew a lot of criticism. The elderly woman identified as Jeanie Dubnau is a housing activist, who has lived in Big Apple since she and her parents fled the Nazis.

Who is Jeanie Dubnau?

Jeanie Dubnau is 84 years old. Shortly after her parents fled the Nazi government in Germany, she was born in Belgium. During World War II, the family found safety in Belgium; after the war, they came to America. Since then, Dubnau has lived in New York City.

As a volunteer tenant organizer in 1960, Dubnau got involved in tenant advocacy. She chairs the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association because of her dedication to neighborhood issues and tenant rights. Dubnau has worked to support and defend the rights of renters in her neighborhood through her activism and leadership.

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She was a participant in the Upper Manhattan community discussion. She initially anticipated that locals would have the chance to share their thoughts on the Rent Guidelines Board’s decision to raise monthly payments for New York City rent-stabilized apartments. Dubnau made the decision to speak up during the meeting because she felt the need to hold Mayor Eric Adams responsible for this choice.

Dubnau claimed after the incident that she thinks Mayor Adams used the comparison to her as a way to absolve himself of blame. According to her perspective, the mayor made the comparison to draw attention away from the Rent Guidelines Board’s judgment and its implications for tenants like herself.

The footage of the incident surfaced where Jeanie Dubnau can be seen interrupting Mayor Eric Adams and saying that he is raising the rent. Adams reacted by claiming to be the mayor in response to Dubnau pointing her finger at him and challenging him, “I am the Mayor.”

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After this discussion, Adams made it clear to the guests that he has no direct influence over the decisions made by the rent board, which is in charge of implementing the rent increases.