Brighton real estate agent claims racial comment prompted him to flip off protesters

Residents affected by rent spikes and evictions gathered outside the City Realty Group in Brighton yesterday in protest against the Reality Groups actions. A person inside City Reality office reacts to the protesters by giving them the middle finger and laughing as another man tapes the event.  PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
A real estate agent at the City Realty Group in Brighton said he flipped the middle finger to protesters because he heard someone call him an “Uncle Tom.”
PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

A Brighton real estate broker who was photographed flipping off a group of roughly 70 protesters said today that the photograph was “taken out of context,” and claimed that the gesture was a reaction to a racial comment.

Jerome Bibuld, an agent at City Realty Group, was photographed Wednesday flipping his middle finger to protesters as he stood next to Fred Starikov, a Managing Partner at City Real Estate Development Corp.

Bibuld said one of the protesters called him an “Uncle Tom.”

“(The finger) was my reaction,” he said.

In an email to Metro, Starikov defended his colleague, saying, “I am not saying that he was right to do what he did, but in fairness to him and to your reporting, it should be brought to light that it was in response to racist comments being made by the angry protesters,” he said.

Starikov also defended his organization, saying: “We purchase distressed properties that are in need of major renovations and we invest in to low income neighborhoods and provide affordable housing. In case you are unaware, there is a shortage of affordable housing in Boston. We bring houses back up to code and make them very nice with the help of investors and community banks. I believe we provide a much needed service and I believe we are doing positive things despite what a few organization may believe.”

He went on to call leaders of the tenant rights group City Life – one of the protest organizers – “bullies.”

The tenants gathered with signs outside the company’s Chestnut Hill Avenue office Wednesday afternoon to speak out against what they consider to be predatory rent spikes and unfair, no-fault evictions.

Protest organizers said the Brighton-based company is using the foreclosure crisis to buy up homes at rock-bottom prices, then going back on its word to tenants and instituting predatory rent hikes that are well beyond original lease agreements.

Eliza Parad, who heads Chelsea Collaborative’s City-Wide Tenants Association, another protest organizer, said demonstrators were “only protesting and chanting.”

“Ray Fernandes, whose back in is in the picture, said ‘We are angry about what is happening but did not go there to fight. We have to be patient and just keep asking for what we want,” she said. “I personally, was not nearby when the photo was taken. I am not sure what was said or what transpired but I hope that nothing insulting was said by a protestor.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.