Artist Shellyne Rodriguez was arrested on Thursday after the New York Post published video footage in which she appeared to hold a machete up to a reporter.
Rodriguez was arrested at the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx on Thursday morning and was released that same day. The New York Police Department said that Rodriguez had been charged with misdemeanor counts of menacing and harassment in connection with the incident, which took place Tuesday.
That same day, Rodriguez was fired by Manhattan’s Hunter College, where she was formerly an adjunct professor in the art department. Hunter released a statement in which it said that the school “strongly condemns the unacceptable actions of Shellyne Rodriguez.”
After the story was picked up by right-wing publications, Rodriguez released a statement saying that the school had “capitulated” to “racists, white nationalists, and misogynists.”
On Friday, the School of Visual Arts, where she had also been an adjunct professor, “made the decision not to new Shellyne Rodriguez’s contract,” the school wrote in a statement to ARTnews.
Earlier in the week, right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Fox News had reported another incident involving Rodriguez at Hunter. Video circulated online by the Students for Life of America, a nonprofit group that identifies as “one of the leading pro-life advocacy organizations in the world,” seemed to show Rodriguez confronting students that had a table with materials related to the group.
“You’re not educating shit. This is fucking propaganda,” Rodriguez appeared to tell the students before pushing what she tossed what she later described as “postcards and [a] metal container of rubber fetuses.” Based on the video, the students did not appear to be hurt.
On Tuesday, the New York Post ran an article in which it claimed that Rodriguez had raised a machete to Reuven Fenton, a journalist who had a byline on the report. The Post alleged that Fenton had identified himself when he visited Rodriguez’s Bronx apartment, before she emerged from it holding the knife; a spokesperson for Rodriguez later disputed this, saying that Fenton and a cameraperson “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 NYPD said that “a 42-year-old male was menaced with a machete after a verbal dispute,” and there were no reported injuries. An investigation, the department said, was ongoing.
ARTnews attempted to reach Rodriguez through a spokesperson, but was unsuccessful.
Update, 5/26/23, 9:30 p.m.: This article has been updated to include details about the status of Rodriguez’s contract at the School of Visual Arts.