A gay white man who became infamous last month when a video of him repeatedly harassing a black woman at a pool went viral has now claimed that his racism is caused by his autism. And here’s the thing — he might be telling the truth, at least according to one autism researcher.
The man in question, Nick Starr-Street, confronted two black women, Felecia Soso and Gaëlle Claude, for allegedly playing their music too loudly at the pool in the Hyattsville, Maryland apartment complex where they all lived.
In a twitter thread, Soso wrote:
So my friends and I are chilling by the pool right.. SEVEN BLACK WOMEN.. Not being loud, super chill, playing quiet music, (I could barely even hear it in the actual pool), other people were at the pool (white women children, etc)
We are told to turn our music down so we do so.. and now it’s like barely playing we have food and drinks and are chilling talking (not loudly) and enjoying ourselves..
So he complains to the leasing office.. they come out and talk to us.. they are clearly very annoyed with this dude I show them the video.. they go back and calmly talk to him.. they leave… he leaves and he COMES BACK
He comes out so that we SEE him calling the police on us (the black women who were doing nothing but being black and existing).. I know it doesn’t matter but my friends are all professionals.. all very classy.. all lowkey.. all well spoken SUPER CHILL women
Then 5 minutes later.. who pulls up but the ACTUAL PG COUNTY POLICE FOR SEVEN WOMEN WHO ARE LITERALLY JUST SITTING BY A POOL!!! I see this stuff online but having this happen in person like BLATANT racism for NO reason at ALLLLLLLLL
Also an hour later a group of white residents came down and were very loud (didn’t bother us cuz heyyy its Saturday we’re having fun) but this man was silent
THEN a second group of black women went down by the pool to grill and he was BACK
We were taking food back up to the aparment.. when we got back down and found out what was actually going on..
This dude was complaining to leasing because these women had shopping carts that they’d brought in from the grocery store next door with their food in it to grill.
Here’s a video of Starr-Street confronting one of the women at the pool:
This man comes out of no where and I only started recording because I thought it was gonna be hilarious.. this man started yelling at my friend so I ran over.. mind you we were NOT LOUD at all.. we had glass bottles but he was NOT AT THE POOL.. he doesn’t work here lol pic.twitter.com/4L7K6k4pCV
— Lil Fort Wash Posh (@SuggSavage) June 22, 2019
In a separate incident that same month, Starr-Street allegedly stalked two black women for a mile and called the police because the women were drinking wine and taking pictures at an apartment pool.
This white man literally stalked us from his apartment for damn near a mile just cause we were at the pool drinking wine and taking pictures. Called the police and all…I cannot make this up smh pic.twitter.com/96tGTSykUZ
— G da baby (@BestFlaws) June 23, 2019
If this guy sounds familiar, it could be because in 2016 he wondered why Drag Race All-Star Roxxxy Andrews hadn’t died at the Pulse Nightclub shooting. He also posted anti-Semitic and racist tweets in 2011. His Instagram profile, which showed a picture of him kissing his husband, included the bio: “Notorious, news making, outspoken, autistic. Anti-LGBTQ. Don’t follow me if you suck d*ck.”
He has since been suspended from Twitter and was evicted from the apartment complex. He has also deactivated his Facebook account and made his Instagram profile private. But on Facebook, Starr-Street said that he reacted as he did towards the women because of his autism.
“I’m autistic and lack a gauge that goes anywhere but 0 and 100,” Starr-Street wrote. “When I see a lease violation, I call it out and do everything in my power to make sure it is resolved, no matter who is the person violating.”
But here’s the thing: According to autism researcher Damian Stanley, a man who helped author a 2015 National Institute of Health report entitled, “Implicit Social Biases in People with Autism,” people with autism sometimes stick to a very specific set of rules that they adhere to in (pardon the pun) black-and-white terms.
Stanley says, “Explicit biases that they’ve been exposed to growing up would be rules” to some autistic people.
So if Starr-Street is actually autistic and grew up around racism — whether overtly from his family or just societally from bias in media and politics — it’s possible that he could’ve developed a set of “rules” that makes black people seem worth policing. However, Stanley says that autism doesn’t automatically make people more inclined to be racist nor does it excuse Starr-Street ‘s behavior.
Stanley says, “Autism is a very heterogeneous disorder and it is a spectrum disorder, so the extent to which, the manner in which they’re affected is highly variable. We don’t know to what extent we can attribute poor behavior to one thing or another at this time.”