A Black Lives Matter supporter in New York defended his actions after he was videotaped tearing down blue ribbons meant to show community support for police.
Hipster Stephen Varvaro was filmed in the Staten Island neighborhood of Castleton Corners angrily taking down blue ribbons attached to posts when resident Steve Worona grabbed his phone and began filming.
“Black lives matter,” Varvaro shouts when confronted by Worona who is driving by in his vehicle.
“All lives matter,” Worona replies. “Blue lives save all lives.”
“Whatever,” Varvaro responds. “We’re not talking about all lives right now. All lives are not being persecuted right now, black lives are.”
Varvaro was later forced to issue an apology after receiving major backlash on social media.
“I know that what I did was wrong,” Varvaro said in an interview with the Staten Island Advance. “Tearing the ribbons down was the wrong thing to do. It was disrespectful.”
Varvaro explained he believed the ribbons were meant to disparage the Black Lives Matter movement.
“What I thought they meant was ‘To hell with Black Lives Matter,’ I assumed. I was hasty. I acted in anger. I didn’t see blue when I saw the blue ribbons, I saw red and I was angry and I lost control.”
“I’m in no way against Blue Lives Matter,” the hipster claimed.
Varvaro’s former workplace also received threatening calls, despite him not having worked there in close to a month.
Worona said he confronted Varvaro because he was tired of hate from both sides of the conversation.
“With all the stuff going on, we don’t need any more hate,” Worona stated. “We just need to respect each other.”
The ribbons, which were placed around the neighborhood along with others across the country, were intended to show support for NYPD and all members of law enforcement.