Victim of racist LIRR rant caught on video speaks out

NEW YORK — The woman targeted in a racist-filled rant on the Long Island Rail Road spoke out to PIX11 News Friday.

“I want people to know that this still happens!” Soraya Orelien said.

It all started on April 19 aboard the LIRR train during Orelien's daily commute. The woman, who is black, said a white man unleashed a toxic, racist rant against her.

“He got in my face, and the other woman’s face and said oooh ooh aaa aaah, literally," Orelien said. "He told me to get off a Jamaica Avenue where all the ghetto people live."

The passenger  allegedly took issue with the 25-year-old Baruch College senior being on her cell phone during her commute that originated at Penn Station. So he confronted her.

Passengers captured the whole thing on cell phone video.

“I felt disgusted, and I felt belittled,"Orelien said. "I didn’t do anything to this man. He called me a monkey, he said I didn’t know my mom or my dad.”

The man has already been identified as a stagehand and member of Local 1 IATSE. He has also reportedly denied that it’s him in the video.

The union’s president James J. Claffey Jr. condemned the racist rant – while noting the man’s reported denial.

Claffey has yet to respond to PIX11’s request for comment.

“I thank god for social media, because if it wasn’t for social media, nobody would have known what happened on that train that night,” Orelien said.

An LIRR spokesman told PIX11:

“This language is offensive, completely inappropriate, and has no place in our society, let alone on the Long Island Rail Road. The MTA Police are actively investigating this report…. Anyone who sees a situation like this unfolding should notify a conductor immediately. This absolutely falls under the mantra of: if you see something, say something.”

After reflecting on the earful she received on the train, Orelien has this to say:

“I’m proud to be a strong black woman in this day and age, and no one can talk to me like that."