Does having Black friends give white people a pass on using racial slurs like the “n” word? Apparently, the wife of a billionaire hedge funder thinks so. Lisa Falcone, the wife of Wall Street exec Philip Falcone, claims she’s not racist for using the n-word because one of her friends is Alicia Keys.
Philip Falcone is the founder of Harbinger Capital Partners. His estimated net worth was $1 billion in 2014, according to Forbes. He had invested heavily in wireless network venture LightSquared but that company filed for bankruptcy in 2012. In 2013 he had to pay $18 million to settle a pair of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
He and his wife hired personal chef Brian Villanueva “and apparently agreed to pay him a $100,000 salary to shop for the Falcone’s groceries and cook their meals,” Fox Business News reported.
Falcone is being sued by her Villanueva over wages. And according to court papers, she told her former personal chef she wasn’t racist after using the n-word. She later instructed him to ask her Black friend Alicia Keys as proof that she was not racist in an attempt to keep him from quitting.
It is alleged that Falcone dropped the n-bomb after meeting Villanueva’s girlfriend, who is Black. The couple needed a second chef for an event and Villanueva suggested his girlfriend to the Falcones.
“Villanueva said his gal pal came in to help him cook for a Hamptons dinner party the Falcones were hosting on July 13, 2019 — attended by Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz — and the next morning Lisa commented on how articulate his partner was,” Page Six reported.
“Your girlfriend speaks very well. She seems educated. I would describe her as a chocolate-covered marshmallow,” the chef claims Lisa said.
Lisa Falcone went on to ask Villanueva “Do you use the word ‘n—-’ at home with your girlfriend?” state the court papers.
“Defendant Lisa Falcone noticed the shocked and offended expression on Plaintiff’s face, however, rather than apologize, she said defensively, ‘I’m Puerto Rican and grew up in Spanish Harlem so I can speak like that,’” the suit reads.
According to the lawsuit, Villanueva requested that Falcone explain the comments, and she responded that neither Keys nor Swizz Beatz (whose real name is Kasseem Dean) were not as well-spoken.
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“I meant she speaks really eloquently. Alicia [Keys] doesn’t speak that way. She didn’t have an education and was just discovered by Clive Davis when she was fifteen years old. Swizz [Beatz] definitely doesn’t speak that way either,” Lisa allegedly responded.
Later that day, after delivering a pizza to the Falcones on the beach, Villanueva informed them he was quitting due to the racist remarks.
“Rather than accepting Plaintiff’s resignation, Defendant Lisa Falcone asked Plaintiff not to resign and stated ‘talk to my Black friends’ (seemingly referring to Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz — both of whom were at the beach with the Falcones at that time), and emphasized ‘they will tell you that I am not racist,’” the documents read.
Villanueva is suing for discrimination and violation of New York labor laws, saying he’s owed $4,230.76 in unpaid wages.
“The lawsuit also claims Philip said he would only pay Villanueva if he and his girlfriend signed a confidentiality agreement promising to not repeat Lisa’s utterances. They declined to sign,” Page Six reported.
Reps for Keys and Beatz did not respond to requests for comment.
Philip declined to comment. Lisa did not respond to requests.
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