A woman accused of a hate crime after she allegedly called her brother “fat” is now denying she was racist, claiming she was only expressing “anger and frustration” over a perceived lack of female representation in high school.
“This is not about me being a racist, this is not a race issue, this was a hate-crime,” Jessica Pendergast told ABC News in an interview Tuesday.
My husband and me grew up together in the same community, we grew up with the same neighbors and we’re like, ‘OK, well, we’re both people who have to work.'” “
I’m not a racist.
My husband and me grew up together in the same community, we grew up with the same neighbors and we’re like, ‘OK, well, we’re both people who have to work.'”
Pendergrast, a first-year student at Wharton School, said she was called a racist name by a woman who told her to go home and hide her “nasty” comments.
She said the woman’s family was “angry” and “tired of being called stupid” and that they called the police.
Pendergal said she didn’t mean to cause harm to anyone and that she wasn’t going to stop her husband from speaking up against the woman.
She told ABC affiliate WKMG that she called her husband to apologize after the incident and that he has since told her that she “should be ashamed of herself.”
“I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong, and it’s like, you know, you’re not doing anything right,” Pendergar said.
“You’re just expressing anger and frustration over the fact that women are not getting a chance to be represented in a way that they should.”
Pendergaver, who is black, was initially charged with a hate crimes count after the woman allegedly told her she would be “tamed” by “the fattest white girl” in school.
But the charge was dropped after she agreed to testify in a criminal trial against the man she accused of making the slur.
The woman, who was not identified by WKG, has filed a lawsuit against the school and the accused, saying she is “disgusted” by her own actions.
“Her actions are totally inconsistent with the values that she claims to uphold,” her lawyer, Kevin Stenner, said.
The Philadelphia-based school district has defended the decision to drop the charges, saying it did not take the case to court.
“The district took swift and decisive action in this matter, and the allegations were proven to be false,” the district said in a statement Tuesday.
The case comes as the country grapples with racial tensions after the fatal shooting of nine African-Americans in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“It’s an important reminder that we all have to be able to live our lives without having our identities and our stories questioned,” the NAACP president, Rev. William Barber II, said Tuesday.
“This is just another example of how the power of the internet has allowed the rise of hate crime hoaxes, such as the one that falsely accused Jessica Penders husband of calling her a ‘racist’ and she called him out on it,” he said.
Penders attorney, Michael McManus, said his client has not yet filed a criminal complaint against the accused.
He said Pendergs actions are “absolutely consistent with her beliefs and her beliefs are consistent with the beliefs of the school district.”
The case against Pendergas family is still under investigation, according to McManuses attorney.
“She has not been interviewed, nor is she being interviewed,” he told ABC.
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