MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — A Santa Rosa County commissioner is receiving backlash from some of his constituents for comments he made at a local business in January.
During a public forum at Monday night’s commission meeting, a resident brought surveillance video and played it. The video shows Commissioner Sam Parker walking into a business asking about a discount and using an anti-Semitic trope.
“We’ve got to Jew you down a little bit,” Parker said as he walked in. “What happened to my discount?” Parker asked when he was given his total. “I guess if I had brought cash, you wouldn’t have to charge me tax, huh?”
Residents addressed Parker at Monday’s meeting.
“If you had said that in front of me, I would have either backhanded you or told you off to make you about a half-inch tall,” Sherry Chapman said. “That is absolutely irresponsible and degrading.”
“Please start thinking about how you say things, what you do, how you behave as a county commissioner of my district,” Angie Carter said.
Parker defended himself.
“I’m not referring to the Jewish community, okay, I used that term as an adjective, as a descriptive word for bargaining them down,” Parker said.
The American Jewish Committee calls the phrase an “insulting, antisemitic misrepresentation of Jewish behavior that plays into the trope of Jews as greedy money handlers who are unwilling to part with their earnings. The common, mainstream use of antisemitic terms, like Jew down, plays a dangerous role in normalizing antisemitism and reinforcing conspiracy theories in the minds of antisemites.”
“That’s not how a county commissioner of this county should act or do business and I’m asking you if you’re going to resign,” Gulf Breeze Resident Chris Smith said.
“I’m not apologizing for that,” Parker said. “I didn’t say that toward any person or about any person.”
Several people were also upset that a commissioner would try to get a discount, but Parker said it was a joke.
“Even if I know I’m not getting a discount, most places where I go, yeah I’m gonna joke,” Parker said. “It’s kinda in the fabric of I’m in the real estate business. People ask for discounts.”
Parker said if anyone wants to, they can file a complaint with the Florida Ethics Commission.