Web war over Prime 6! Online petitions reveal racism, fear-mongering, ignorance

The Brooklyn Paper
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The debate over a new music venue in Park Slope has devolved into an online petition feud that pits a woman who claims hip-hop is linked to “elevated crime rates” against neighbors who want her to take her intolerance and “move to the Hamptons.”

The first petition emerged just days after neighbors stormed a Community Board 6 meeting to protest the live music bar Prime 6, whose marketing strategy on its social media websites targets the hip-hop and basketball crowd.

The online petition, penned by Park Sloper Jennifer McMillen, calls on the venue to opt for “indie” music rather than hip-hop because, she wrote, a rap crowd could lead to “elevated crime rates” in the “family centric neighborho­od.”

About 880 people “signed” the petition, although most made fun of her in the comment section, writing “Go back to Iowa, BEEOTCH” and “Hipster scum!”

Retribution — at least the online kind — was swift, with bloggers slamming her for liberal racism.

“She’s retarded,” wrote F–cked In Park Slope. “I’m embarrassed.”

The next day, a new petition popped up — only this time it targeted McMillen.

The online rant, “Send the Message to Jennifer McMillen to Move to the Hamptons,” mimics her writing tone, declaring — as a clear parody — “Homogeneity will make you feel more safe than diversity!!!” As of Tuesday, 53 people had signed it.

The web war didn’t end there. Kevin Bova, a third petitioner, also made use of the sarcastic exclamation point as he encouraged McMillen to host a hip- hop party in order to open her mind.

“There is a good possibility that we can get Hennessey to sponsor these,” he jokes in print. “Throwing house parties will make you more friends!”

But Bova, a Windsor Terrace resident, wasn’t laughing when this paper spoke to him on Friday.

“It’s pretty damn disgusting what she wrote,” he said, explaining there is already enough tension surrounding gentrification and race in this borough. “I think she owes Brooklyn an apology.”

McMillen isn’t listed in public records, so she could not be reached — but the Prime 6 debate is far from over.

The fight against the bar can be seen, in part, as a proxy battle for the lost war over Atlantic Yards. The venue already sits at a bustling nightlife hub – one that will no-doubt get busier with the arrival of the Brooklyn Nets.

Prime 6 has already won a liquor license, “but there is still time to attach stipulatio­ns,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, which will take up the issue at an upcoming meeting.

Amid all this back and forth, Prime 6 owner Akiva Ofshtein, a lawyer who briefly managed the former Tavern on the Green, a Manhattan tourist trap, maintains that his restaurant will be a hangout for locals.

“Live acts will be occasional, with acoustic acts and singing — there wont be rock bands or hip-hop,” he said. “It’s a restaurant, so it’s not appropriate for that.”

He claimed that he does not run or oversee the restaurant’s social media sites and that they do not reflect his “intentions” for the eatery.

Instead, he pledged to work with the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District — a merchants group that doesn’t care what type of music is played, provided it’s not loud or late.

“People have come out with arms swinging,” said Sharon Davidson, the group’s director. “But that’s not a good way to welcome someone into the community.”

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

VLM from Park Slope says:
"McMillen isn’t listed in public records, so she could not be reached — but the Prime 6 debate is far from over."

Probably because her petition was a parody. Does the reporter here truly believe Jennifer McMillen is a real person?
March 10, 2011, 2:22 am
Charles from PS says:
"McMillen isn’t listed in public records, so she could not be reached — but the Prime 6 debate is far from over."

So .. this petition is probably fake, and has been used by the either the owner of this new bar or a random someone out to cause division.

Bottom Line:

This paper perpetrates awful reporting. They shame themselves with their misunderstanding of Brooklyn and what is going on within.
March 10, 2011, 7:21 am
furtg from Fort Greene says:
"[Ofshtein] claimed that he does not run or oversee the restaurant’s social media sites and that they do not reflect his “intentions” for the eatery."

Who does, then: his cousin's 16 year old computer whiz son?

His claim of ignorance is disrespectful to the neighborhood and all sides of this controversy. The fact that he doesn't supervise the public image of his own business shows that he doesn't care where his bar is, as long as it's near the stadium.

The petition has been beneficial, because it has brought out "liberal racism" in the open and caused others to speak up and take sides.

People who support the petition have not faced the reality that they live near Flatbush Avenue, which is a main artery, and belongs to no one neighborhood or mindset.

While every one is bickering, note that Ofshtein seems to not care about anything but his wallet. With his attitude, this place could go downhill fast.

Instead of worrying about a hip-hop/indie crowd, worry about which sidestreets certain types of "working women" at the bar will take their customers.
March 10, 2011, 9:31 am
harriet from brooklyn says:
Hey Brooklyn Paper, I don't think people realize you're playing a joke! The petition was obviously fake, and I love your satirical article- pretending to take it seriously... hilarious!

Unfortunately, anyone who reads the petition will realize it's a parody.
March 10, 2011, 10:07 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I for one, will be happy to go to nearby Lounge with a VIP area and table service. Who wants to go to BARn?
March 10, 2011, 11:06 am
boova says:
Kevin Bova is a real person!
March 10, 2011, 11:54 am
Gary from Carroll Gardens says:
For the record there was absolutely zero racial overtones at the CB6 PSEPPL Committee hearing on 2/28 from any member of the community.

And perhaps the most powerful comments of the night in opposition to the proposal came from nearby resident and CB6 member Pauline Blake.

Brooklyn Paper, you're getting punked on this issue. Or trolling linkbait.
March 10, 2011, 3:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am not surprised to hear the race card being used to defend this bar even when it wasn't being used. Then again, some will say anything just to get there way. Afterall, Ratner used the race card for his PR purproses to get his project looking good when in reality that was never the case.
March 10, 2011, 9:10 pm
CunningLinguist from The Slope says:
I just don't want a bunch of imbibed clubbers pouring onto the sidewalk and smoking cigarettes down the street on any night of the week... Continuing loud conversations, using their outside voices, all that stuff... Who the hell wants that kind of traffic on a street where most residents are up and on their way to work by 8?

Also, to ignore the correlation between hip hop and violence is foolish. Come on people, half the hip hop world has bullets lodged in their body and extensive rap sheets. i know this because it's the only thing they EVER RAP ABOUT!!!!

Don't be so PC you're ignoring the facts. You're more likely to see a fight outside of a rap venue then you are a coffee shop. That's not racist, that's mathematics.
March 13, 2011, 9:55 am

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