Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Danny Glover 'so-called'... "Discrimination" Complaint...

DANNY GLOVER was unconcerned about what the rules say

              On 4/20/03 the Times-Picayune had an ad announcing an appearance by Danny Glover at the Louis Roussell Auditorium at the Loyola campus in New Orleans. I HAD to see this. After listening to a fairly informative self-expressed biography for an hour and a half audience members were invited to speak to Mr. Glover. I was third in line.

              I spoke with Mr. Glover. I wanted to make Mr. Glover aware that he was being manipulated by the TLC, when they looked at a 'front seat ridership' matter and twisted it into a 'driver discrimination' issue. There was the partition crowding the rear seat area, so he chose to sit in the front. Because there is a partition, nobody is allowed in the front seat unless the back seat is full, according to the TLC rules. 

              This driver clearly was trying to accommodate Mr. Glover. He tried so hard... that he broke two rules in the process of trying to service his needs. He failed to pull over for the passenger and allowed passengers to enter the cab while it was in an active traffic lane. The problem began when he wouldn't violate a third rule, no front seat riders unless the back seat is full.

               The NYC TLC needed to morph this from a 'partition story' into a 'driver discrimination story'. They succeeded with the cooperation of the media.

               Here is a transcript of my encounter with Danny Glover.

STEVE CROWELL: “My name is Steve Crowell, I’ve been driving a cab for 33 years. I was pretty stoked last year, 11/4, when I read in Times-Picayune, ’99, 11/4/99 I read in the T-P that there was a problem with a cab and you in New York.
I noticed that the media and the TLC kind of twisted things around.

(I made the mistake at this point of skipping over the focus of my endeavor. I should have mentioned here that the ‘twisting around’ was
where the complaint changed from ‘front seat access’ to ‘driver discretion’.
Mr. Glover couldn’t fit in the back because the partition limited rear seat leg room
and he wasn’t allowed in the front because of the partition.
The partition was the reason the focus changed from the partition to the driver.
I was ‘stoked’ because I thought that now, finally, after 33 years of griping about partition hazards, we have a CELEBRITY
who has not one problem with the partition, but two, at once!)

The facts of the article said that you were on the street and flagged a cab and that your daughter got in the back seat, her girlfriend got in the backseat, now tell me if I got anything wrong… and that you being 6’4” having had a hip injury, knew you wouldn’t have a comfortable space in the back seat because the partition takes up 10” of rear seat leg-room, reasonably asked the driver if you could sit in the front. Is that right so far?

DANNY GLOVER: Let me just say that the story takes on a whole different  (unintelligible) Let’s begin with the first premise, that this guy had no intention of picking me up, initially.

(Here I should have asked Danny how he could believe that the driver didn’t intend to pick him up when the driver broke the law to accommodate his party.)

When the cab was at, this is after me, and my daughter and her friend had been around town and we couldn’t get a cab, where ever we went. So this was the fourth or fifth time, before this actually happened. So, uh, in this incident this was at the house, in New York, on the lower east side. The cab came to the corner, my daughter, Mandissa, went to open the door. The door was locked, he was stopped at a light. He couldn’t run the red light, he couldn’t turn right, or whatever. So, finally she said, “Aren’t you going to open the door?” So, he opened the door. She got in the back of the front seat, I mean the back seat, then she got in the back seat. Now my daughter is… about 5’9”, you know, her friend was pretty tall too and so what I figured was, I’ll get in the front seat… and the guy pitched a fit!

(Uproarious) laughter… from the elitist Loyola students who are certain the issues cab drivers deal with will never be a problem in their lives)

And he started, he thought that  (unintelligible) I said “Here’s what you do  (unintelligible) this guy’s on drugs…(?) He said, “Get out the cab, or I’ll call the police.” I said “Actually, that’s what I want you to do. Let’s go by the police, right now. Let’s go by the police.”


DANNY GLOVER: “And we found a policeman.”

STEVE CROWELL: “And then?”

“And the policeman  (unintelligible) I said “This is what happened, I tried to reason with him, so the police said, “You need to go down to the Taxi & Limo uh, uh…


DANNY GLOVER: “So, I went down there on my daughters’ insistence. This happens all the time. The black man  (unintelligible) all the time.”

STEVE CROWELL: “Well here’s the thing…”

DANNY GLOVER: ”No, no, I’m just saying, not to throw you off, so we went down there, and they asked me there  (unintelligible) everybody jumped on it  (unintelligible) how about the fine, all this other  (unintelligible) “

STEVE CROWELL: “You drove!”

DANNY GLOVER: “Believe me, I’m not trying to…”

STEVE CROWELL: “You used to drive a cab didn’t you?”

DANNY GLOVER: “I used to drive a cab, both of us drove. (Meaning, also Felix Justice, his ‘interviewer’)

STEVE CROWELL: “Was that in L.A.?”

DANNY GLOVER: “No, San Francisco, I drove a Yellow cab.”

STEVE CROWELL: “I hope you don’t get the mistaken impression that I have demonized you at all. There are a lot of cab drivers out there that may have, but they didn’t read the article. The article I read, said that your attorney showed up at the TLC and apparently there was a New York Times reporter there with him and Mathew Daus, who is currently head of the TLC, was the TLC Chief Counsel at that time, We encourage Mr. Glover to file a complaint.’ (They actually, to be accurate, used the word ‘urge’) we’re going to aggressively investigate this and we’re going to hold the driver accountable.”
My reflection on that is… it is not proprietous for them to tell you they want you to file a complaint. Their job is to tell you how to file a complaint. Secondly, it takes a little bit of pandering to a celebrity, I think. They don’t do aggressive investigations on everything! And, third, why didn’t they just take him out and shoot him in the first place, (laughter from about four people) and tell everybody he had a fair trial  (unintelligible) because here is the problem. There is a rule about front seat riders in New York City and the duplicitous, lying, SOB, TLC up there in New York never told you “You aren’t allowed in the front seat, nobody is allowed in the front seat. So, they said…”


STEVE CROWELL: “No, wait a minute, ‘Let’s go prove that we give permits to racist cab drivers, er, to racist people, to be cab drivers.’ Why they would want to do that… I don’t know. Why they’d set a black guy here and a white guy there and then say ‘If you pick up the white guy we’re going to take your permit and we’re going to tow your cab. They excoriated about 70 cab drivers who were summarily put out of work. No due process.”
It’s not your fault, I just want you to understand, NOBODY is allowed in the front seat. There are jerk cab drivers out there who DO superficial evaluations…”

DANNY GLOVER: “No, no, this wasn’t about the front seat. The issue wasn’t the front seat.”

STEVE CROWELL: “That’s what the driver said.”

DANNY GLOVER: “No, no, the issue was, he didn’t want to pick me up. That, period,”

STEVE CROWELL: “Well, I don’t know if he wanted to or not. He might have wanted to, he might not have wanted to…”

(Here I should have asked Danny how he could believe that the driver didn’t want to pick him up when the driver broke the law to accommodate his party.)

DANNY GLOVER: “He could have said “Look here, I understand that you have problems with your leg, but I am not allowed to have people in the front seat.”


DANNY GLOVER: “My argument to begin with  (unintelligible) because he would refuse to  (unintelligible) he refused to let me in the car first.

STEVE CROWELL: “You and I both want this superficial evaluation  (unintelligible).

DANNY GLOVER: “No, no, no, let me do the point. I can’t argue that point  (unintelligible).

STEVE CROWELL: “He did a superficial evaluation!”

DANNY GLOVER: “That’s not the issue, the issue is – this is THAT, what happened to ME, happens to countless people of color  (unintelligible) “

STEVE CROWELL: “AND, there is a way to address it.”

DANNY GLOVER: “He is, he is  (unintelligible), its STILL happening.”


Steve Crowell: “STEVE CROWELL: “ There IS a way to address it!”

DANNY GLOVER: “It’s STILL happening!”

STEVE CROWELL: “It CAN be fixed!”

DANNY GLOVER: “It is not fixable.”

STEVE CROWELL: “Oh, it isn’t?”

DANNY GLOVER: “, it’s STILL happening, and besides the fact, I’m not going to sit here and argue  (unintelligible).”

STEVE CROWELL: “I thought you were optimistic. How can you say it won’t be fixed?”

DANNY GLOVER: “I still get passed over!”

STEVE CROWELL: “It can’t be fixed?”

DANNY GLOVER: “It happens to me!”


DANNY GLOVER: “What you are saying  (unintelligible), I did what I did, I reported it, OK?”

STEVE CROWELL: “You did the right thing.”


STEVE CROWELL: “THEY did the wrong thing.”


STEVE CROWELL: “They did the wrong thing.” (The TLC)

DANNY GLOVER: “That’s beside the point, I’m reporting it and it’s still happening.”


Felix Justice: “We’re gonna have to… (Laughter over Justices’ attempt to abort the topic)

DANNY GLOVER: “DANNY GLOVER: “No, no I’m serious. Young, young white kid who was directing the play, told me, reminded me and I forgot about this, he used to stand out after I got out of the performance and flagged a cab down for me.”

STEVE CROWELL: “Cause it’s easier cause he’s white.”

DANNY GLOVER: “Cause he’s white, it’s still, it’s much deeper than that.”

STEVE CROWELL: “I didn’t make things that way. I’m trying to help fix it too.”

Felix Justice: “We’re gonna have to bring this taxi to a screeching halt.”

(Strong applause)

DANNY GLOVER: “It still happens. And you know what? I’m saying because he, I mean if it’s happening to me when it’s south Asians, when it’s Haitians…”

(I see now, it’s those Haitians and Asians who we should rake across the coals, not the partitions’ ergonomic deficiencies, the partitions’ viability, the partitions’ legality, the partitions’ impediment to safe operation and the partitions’ tendency to create an adversarial atmosphere in cabs.)

STEVE CROWELL: “It can still be addressed!”

DANNY GLOVER: “I’m not going to address it.”3

STEVE CROWELL: “You DID (address it). I was hoping I could give you an idea…”

DANNY GLOVER: “  (unintelligible) “

STEVE CROWELL That’s what I wanted to do.”

(Applause for Danny)

DANNY GLOVER: “What came out of that, what felt constructive is that they were never  (unintelligible) had all these town meetings amongst owners, cab drivers and members of the community and I thought that was a beginning step. You know I thought that was a step in the right direction.”

STEVE CROWELL: “I don’t think they took the right steps.”

DANNY GLOVER: “Well, I can’t.”

STEVE CROWELL: “Cause its still happening, obviously they didn’t (take the right steps).”

DANNY GLOVER: “People had to talk about it, thank you.”

STEVE CROWELL: “How can I get in touch with you?”


DANNY GLOVER: “Let me finish this right here. (Meaning, he wanted to change subject)

Mr. Glover claimed the driver had no intention of picking him up. This contention is inconsistent with the facts as Mr. Glover related them.
The driver took a huge risk for Mr. Glover.

In attempting to service DANNY GLOVER, his daughter and her friend, the driver could have been cited, permit suspended and fined hundreds of dollars for unlocking the doors while in an active travel lane. It is against the TLC rules to pick up or discharge without pulling to the side of the road.

It seems that DANNY GLOVER, with all of his support for the disenfranchised and higher social consciensciousness has a blind spot the size of Manhattan.

DANNY GLOVER cited the fact that cabs on four or five different occasions, earlier in the evening, had passed them up.

What the TLC did was very wrong and caused a great deal of harm to innocent cab drivers. The TLC should have informed DANNY GLOVER that it is illegal for passengers to sit in the front seat. I know it is a stupid rule, which is frequently not enforced by drivers, that came about as a result of the partition requirement.

The reason DANNY GLOVER couldn’t fit in the back seat was because of the partition. The whole problem stemmed from the partition requirement. It is absurd to assert that the driver is safer in an attack with the assailant BEHIND him.

It is criminal to assert that the partition is bulletproof. It is gross and deliberate negligence to ignore the deaths and injuries which partition requirements are responsible for.

It was specifically venal of the TLC to demonize cab drivers rather than tell DANNY GLOVER the truth about front seat occupancy. It is additionally egregious that DANNY GLOVER would join ranks with the TLC about allegedly racist cab drivers who go so far as to violate the rules by unlocking the doors BEFORE pulling to the side of the street to accommodate people like DANNY GLOVER.

DANNY GLOVER was unconcerned about what the rules say.

He was so angry at those sixty or so cabs that didn’t stop for him earlier in the evening, that now that he had a cab driver in his clutches, he wasn’t going to let this one get away without punishment.

The audiences comprised mostly of Loyola students were shamefully insensitive to the plight of cab drivers that are the most likely of all American workers to slain on the job. They are 5-10 times more likely to be killed this way than police officers.

The audience was amused that the driver would be concerned about a 6’4” black man jumping in the front seat of his cab in Manhattan in the wee hours of the morning. The ignorance is astounding.
I intended to get DANNY GLOVER to align himself with me about the inconveniences and  dangers of cab partition use. We hardly discussed partitions at all because DANNY GLOVER was so prejudiced against cab drivers we couldn’t even get to my real point.

My real point revolves around the fact that there is a Federally funded study that asserts that bulletproof shields are viable for use in cabs even though the murder rate rose 200% in the city studied. We never got past Glovers’ first, incorrect premise... that the driver never intended to pick up his party. I failed.

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