The machete-wielding NYC professor who allegedly threatened to “chop up” a New York Post reporter surrendered to police Thursday morning, even though she insists she’s the victim and said the entire incident “has taken a toll on my mental health.”
Shellyne Rodriguez, 45, turned herself in to police around 7 a.m., according to the New York Post. It’s unclear if she was charged.
She told ARTnews through her spokesperson that Hunter College, where she was an adjunct professor, fired her because the school “capitulated” to “racists, white nationalists, and misogynists.”
The NYPD said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that there was a menacing complaint report on file following Tuesday’s confrontation with the reporter, but no arrest was made at that point.
Rodriguez didn’t return calls for comment on Wednesday, but told ARTnews that The Post reporter “did not use the intercom to gain access, and appear to have been trespassing inside the building when they pounded on her door and started yelling at her through the door.”
The journalist, Reuven Fenton, said he identified himself as a reporter and was at her door asking for an interview with Rodriguez after she was seen in video destroying Students for Life in America’s pro-life display in an expletive-filled rant that went viral earlier this month.
Rodriguez told ARTnews that Hunter told her to apologize, which she said she did, “Yet before the process could be completed, on May 19, Students for Life circulated a manipulated video of the incident on social media and mobilized their members to attack me.”
“For the past two weeks, I have been inundated with vile and hateful emails, texts and voicemails nonstop,” she told the outlet. “As much as this incident has stakes for my life, it is ultimately just one part of a broader political struggle taking place across the country.
“Right wing media organizations are weaponizing and sensationalizing this case to further their agenda, and using me as a prism through which to project their attacks on women, trans people, Black people, Latinx people, migrants, and beyond.”
During the confrontation with The Post reporter, Rodriguez is seen on video bursting out of her apartment while holding a blade to Fenton’s throat.
According to the NYPD, she allegedly followed him out of the building with the machete, chased him along the street and kicked him in the leg.
Wendy Olsoff, a co-founder of P.P.O.W, the NYC gallery that represents Rodriguez, told ARTnews the situation is similar to when the American Family Association and Rev. Donald Wildmon went after David Wojnarowicz, whose estate is also on the gallery’s roster.
Wojnarowicz was gay and spoke openly about governmental ignorance of AIDS, causing some Christian groups to term his art “blasphemous,” the outlet reported.
“Now I feel like nothing has changed and, in fact, the strategies of these organizations have gotten more sophisticated,” Olsoff said in a statement to ARTnews. “Now all organizations, like the AFA, have to do is manipulate an iPhone video and characterize Rodriguez as an insane gay Black woman professor.
“With the click of a button, their hateful message of fear, violence, racism, sexism and homophobia can be sent across the country and the world – meant to target people of color, the LGBTQAI+, women’s rights and anyone who doesn’t fall in line with their agenda.”
Meanwhile, Fenton appeared on national media Tuesday night to talk about the confrontation.
“We just wanted to speak to this woman,” Fenton said. “We thought we might have a chance given that she’s obviously passionate about her beliefs and maybe if we showed up to her door, she’d be willing to grant us an interview.”
Fenton said that he is still processing the incident as he considers pressing charges against Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is also a faculty member in NYC’s The School of Visual Arts, which said it’s reviewing Rodriguez’s employment, and she wasn’t scheduled to teach any classes, even before the violent altercation.
“SVA is aware of the incidents involving one of our faculty members, Shellyne Rodriguez, who is not currently teaching any courses at the College,” the school said in a statement to news outlets. “We are assessing to determine any potential next steps.”