A New York park worker complained that Greek-American fine arts photographer, Christos Palios, demanded she clean doggie doo off his fancy European shoe at an exhibit of his work near the Mayor’s Gracie Mansion official residence.
“He had this cocky, arrogant demeanor to himself, like this was a regular thing for him,” Tasheema Chatman said of Palios even as she fumed when she said she was pressured to do the nasty job as supervisors didn’t intervene, the New York Post reported.
Palios stepped on the dog pile while his work was being displayed and sold at the Gracie Square Art Show in Carl Schurz Park.
He told park workers to clean it up, and Chatman said she was called by a supervisor to do the duty as one of two employees designated as “poop girls” for the event.
Chatman, 40, said she only expected to clean up doggy doo from sidewalks and grass, not from the sole of someone’s shoe.
As she polished the shoe, “My supervisors didn’t say anything,” she said. “They didn’t stop it, they didn’t say anything,” according to the newspaper. One of them “just smiled” and the other “was busy looking at his phone,” she said.
Chatman said Palios, kneeling beside her, inspected his other shoe for droppings so she took off before he could call on her to do it again.
“They made me feel less than a person. I can’t stop breaking down,” she said, adding that she cried in the bathroom for 15 minutes after the incident.
“I just don’t understand how somebody can treat another human being like that. And this is happening right in the Mayor’s backyard and he needs to know.”
Chatman, a park worker for 12 years, she asked for a transfer to another park and was given it while a spokesperson for the agency said they’re looking into the incident.
Palios blamed Chatman for doing what he asked and NYC Park Advocates she could have refused, the Post wrote.
“I felt uncomfortable a little bit the whole time, but I thought it was just going to be a 15- or 20-second thing,” Palios said. “I called for three little spots.” He didn’t explain why he didn’t clean his own shoe.
“What bothers me universally is that she had a choice just to say no, no, no,” he added. “I mean, I didn’t order her. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ and I just thought she had helped someone else with it or, or it was no big deal,” he offered as an explanation.
He said it was really the fault of New Yorkers for letting their dogs drop where they want in the parks. “It was because New Yorkers don’t clean up their dog poo,” said the Baltimore-based artist.
On his website, Palios writes that his work “probes ideas of identity and isolation within urban, industrial, and natural spaces, seeking connection in environments mostly devoid of human figures and where only footprints remain.
“I am attracted to irregularity, deviation, and subtleties in subjects secluded from view or concealed in plain sight. Inherent in my work is a discourse of subtle confrontation between traditional and modern daily life.” Apparently not dog poop though.