The New York couple who hosted a racist party that has become an essential part of a Rochester, New York, firefighter's intended lawsuit against the city held a news conference on Tuesday sharing their side of what happened. And as you might’ve imagined, they depicted themselves as victims, even suggesting the possibility of a defamation suit, according to ABC-affiliated WHAM.
Dr. Nicholas Nicosia, a dentist in the area, and his wife Mary Znidarsic-Nicosia told the news station the party thrown at their mansion last month was intended to make fun of liberals and that the backlash that resulted was due to an "unfortunate misconstrued portrayal of our family by uninvited guests to our home."
RELATED STORY: Black firefighter: Captain pressured him to go to party with Trump cutout and fried chicken display
Jerrod Jones, the Black firefighter who attended the party, said his captain made him and other coworkers attend the event while on duty on July 7. While there, Jones watched his captain, Jeffrey Krywy, collect a party favor bag with Cognac and a Juneteenth cup inside of it. Jones also detailed in a notice of claim an environment with cutouts of former President Donald Trump and Juneteenth flags with buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken "prominently displayed" nearby. Jones also said a woman working as an entertainer at the party seemed to be portraying Democrat and Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart in a sexual manner, WHAM reported. Jones is seeking $3 million for emotional distress suffered and $1 million in compensatory damages, NBC News reported.
Krywy retired before the city could start termination proceedings, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in a statement CNN obtained.
Jones, who has worked for the Rochester Fire Department for 14 years, said during his own earlier news conference what he had to experience cut him deeply. "It means a lot to me when I put that uniform on,” he said, “and I've always wanted to represent my city in the correct manner, in a decent manner, honorable manner.”
The Nicosias, however, alleged they and their children are the ones who have suffered, having received death threats since Jones came forward.
"Within hours, my life turned upside down,” Dr. Nicosia said. “I never really understood cancel culture until I experienced the speed that this organized, malicious, well-orchestrated, politically-charged attack happened.
“We were tried and convicted on social media and a false narrative was created."
False apparently was a bit of a stretch though considering Jones’ claim is that the party was racist and Mary admitted to using a Twitter account under a pseudonym to post "blatantly racist comments" online "under a veil of a persona," WHAM reported.
"The culture of Twitter operates that way and it's part of its charm,” she said. “I don't want to say its charm, but it gives you an opportunity to be someone that you're not. For these comments, I'd like to apologize to the African American community and other people in the community that I have hurt or offended by doing what I was doing on Twitter."
The couple's attorney, Corey Hogan, told WHAM the firefighters were not invited to the party but they were welcomed. "They shook his hand, welcomed him, asked him if he wanted any food or drink, and asked him to come into their yard," Hogan said. "What is racist about that?" As of Mary's Twitter persona, Hogan agreed that the account is "racist, vile" and "shouldn't exist." "But let's make it clear. As far as the party goes, there was nothing racist there," Hogan said.
Warning: This video includes highly-offensive tweets that may be triggering for viewers.
Jones' attorney, Nate McMurray, tweeted in response to the Nicosia's news conference that they verified everything in their complaint. "In addition they verified that they operate a racist Twitter account," McMurray said. "We will use their press conference as evidence going forward."