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Parents at exclusive Manhattan school reject apology from principal over woke video

An apology from Bodie Brizendine, principal at Manhattan’s elite Spence School, over a video shown to students mocking white women was rejected by parents

Parents at an elite $57,000-a-year all-girls private school in Manhattan rejected an apology from its principal over a video shown to students mocking white women.

In a letter sent by a parent to Spence School Principal Bodie Brizendine as well as its school board, the unidentified parent expressed disappointment at the school’s response to the incident, and took aim at its board, saying it was not doing enough to curtail its teachers’ woke agenda. 

The letter was widely backed by other parents at the school, according to the New York Post

‘While I was upset after hearing what happened at Spence, the email from Bodie that followed really pushed me over the edge,’ the letter read.  

‘Further, that the board has not weighed in on this matter gives the impression that the board shares the opinion that racism is indeed acceptable as long as it fits within the climate of the times,’ the parent continued.

The Spence School, a $57,000-a-year Manhattan all-girls school, sent out an email apologizing for the showing of an episode of  Ziwe Fumudoh's Showtime show, Ziwe, but parents at the school said its administration was not doing enough to curtail its teachers' woke agenda

The Spence School, a $57,000-a-year Manhattan all-girls school, sent out an email apologizing for the showing of an episode of  Ziwe Fumudoh’s Showtime show, Ziwe, but parents at the school said its administration was not doing enough to curtail its teachers’ woke agenda 

One parent, Gabriela Baron, who is Cuban American, was angered by the 'racism' of the video

One parent, Gabriela Baron, who is Cuban American, was angered by the ‘racism’ of the video 

The posh $57,000-a-year private school, which counts stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington among its alumni, found itself in hot water last month after a video of Ziwe Fumudoh’s Showtime show, Ziwe, was shown to students in which she speaks to author Fran Lebowitz, telling her: ‘I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be.’

The incident sparked a fierce backlash from parents with some, including Cuban-American Gabriela Baron, complaining in a letter that the video was ‘blatantly racist’ and said she was removing her daughter from the academy.   

In her apology email Brizendine wrote: ‘We take this seriously; it is never acceptable to ridicule anyone at any time.  

Students were reportedly shown a clip from Ziwe Fumudoh's satirical show

Students were reportedly shown a clip from Ziwe Fumudoh’s satirical show

The 29-year-old comedienne's season premiere featured author Fran Lebowitz

The 29-year-old comedienne’s season premiere featured author Fran Lebowitz 

Ziwe told Lebowitz: 'I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be'

Ziwe told Lebowitz: ‘I believe that you are not concerned with how annoying white women can be’

‘This video is not part of the Spence curriculum. Our teacher and the School acknowledge that sharing a satirical video that made fun of white women was a significant mistake.

‘We are sorry for any harm this has caused to anyone in our community.’

The anonymous parent, however, was not having it. 

‘Choosing to label the video as “satirical” and that it “made fun of” and “ridicules” is a gross understatement,’ they wrote. ‘That you “fully trust the professionalism of your dedicated faculty and will be strengthening protocols” is not an acceptable response.’ 

Other former students at the school include Kerry Washington and Emmy Rossum; Michael Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina; and Mick Jagger’s daughter Jade.

Kerry Washington

Gwyneth Paltrow

Actresses Kerry Washington and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the Spence School’s notable alumni 

Emmy Rossum

Georgina Bloomberg

Actress Emmy Rossum and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina also among the Spence School’s alumna

The clip in question was the season premiere of Fumudoh’s provocative HBO Showtime show, Ziwe.

HBO describe it as ‘the riotously funny, new variety series from writer, comedian and internet sensation, Ziwe. A no-holds-barred mix of musical numbers, interviews and sketches that challenge America’s discomfort with race, politics, & other cultural issues.’

The episode sees her interview feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and quote the explicit lyrics of the Cardi B song WAP at her, asking: ‘Do you feel empowered?’

Ziwe asked Steinem whether she felt 'empowered' by the explicit lyrics of WAP, which she read out loud to her. Steinem laughed at the question, replying: 'Not really'

Ziwe asked Steinem whether she felt ’empowered’ by the explicit lyrics of WAP, which she read out loud to her. Steinem laughed at the question, replying: ‘Not really’

The 87-year-old author and activist laughed and clapped at Ziwe's provocations

The 87-year-old author and activist laughed and clapped at Ziwe’s provocations

Ziwe also convened a panel of women named Karen to discuss their name, pointing out it was frequently associated with racist white women

Ziwe also convened a panel of women named Karen to discuss their name, pointing out it was frequently associated with racist white women

And she convenes a panel of women named Karen to ask them how they felt about their name, telling them it is now associated with ‘obnoxious, angry and entitled, often racist, white women.’

Baron, in her letter, said she watched the clip at home with her husband and felt that it ‘openly derides, humiliates and ridicules white women.’

She added: ‘[The kids] sat there in their graduation dresses while the white mothers of the white students – many of whom volunteer, donate, call, email and do whatever the school asks of them – were tarred and feathered in a video their teacher showed them.’ 

Baron, in her letter, said she watched the clip at home with her husband and felt that it 'openly derides, humiliates and ridicules white women.'

Baron, in her letter, said she watched the clip at home with her husband and felt that it ‘openly derides, humiliates and ridicules white women.’

In their response to Brizendine’s apology, the parent said the incident was a knock against Spence’s prestigious reputation for, ‘strong academics and for helping to mold intelligent, caring, strong, capable, independent young women.

‘I regret that it no longer feels like academics, or these other qualities, is a priority,’ they continued. 

They added that it would take more than a feeble apology to get back in the school community’s good graces, writing, ‘Make no mistake you have lost my “trust and support” and it is up to you to earn it back.’

The outcry at Spence is just the latest in the ‘culture wars’ enveloping New York City’s expensive education establishments.

Earlier this year a parent at Brearley School wrote to other parents complaining about the teaching of Critical Race Theory – the questioning of America’s history and society, emphasizing the role that slavery played in the nation’s founding. Supporters of CRT argue it is a long-overdue rebalancing of the curriculum: detractors say it divides children by skin color, and tells white children to feel guilty for their skin.

A teacher at another school, Grace School, resigned in protest at the teaching of CRT.


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