Who is Arkady Belozovsky? Andrew Cuomo's ASL interpreter hailed ‘star’ as governor goes 'Al Pacino' on reporter
Belozovsky, a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate, is said to have left former USSR with his family at the age of 16
Andrew Cuomo's latest press briefing has become the hot topic of discussion on social media for several interesting reasons. While the New York Governor's fury towards a Wall Street Journal reporter has people comparing him to Al Pacino, drawing similarities between the veteran actor's "You're out of order" speech from his 1979 movie 'Justice for All', his ASL interpreter, Arkady Belozovsky, is being hailed as a hero for absolutely nailing Cuomo's ire with dramatic facial and hand gestures throughout the briefing.
During the conference held in Albany on Wednesday, November 18, Cuomo was asked about the re-opening of New York public schools amid the coronavirus crisis. However, journalist Jimm Vielkind's tone didn't sit well with the governor, as he lashed out at him saying it was "obnoxious" and "offensive". When asked if the schools would remain open and closed on Thursday, November 19, amid raising Covid-19 cases, Cuomo, who is seemingly irked, responds, "Alright, first of all, let’s try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone. Because you’re 100-percent wrong" before explaining that the schools in the Big Apple would move into medium risk "orange" zone.
Vielkind asks in response, "Does the city have the ability to close its schools, are you now taking control saying you have the power to make this decision? And for the millions of parents who want to know — are the schools going to open tomorrow in New York City?" Cuomo then replies saying the reporter would have known better if they had been paying attention and were aware of the "orange zone law" which has been in place for over a month. "Follow the facts," an agitated governor says. While Cuomo and reporters continued to engage in the rather intense discussion throughout the conference, translator Belozovskly kept up with the governor's intensity with exceptional sign language, which has earned him a lot of praise by the critiques and social media users.
Meanwhile, Versus Media podcast creator Stephen L Miller, in a tweet, called out Cuomo for attacking the press. In the following tweet, he compared the governor to Al Pacino.
Democracy died a little today. This is chilling. This is the kind of attack on a free press that only happens in countries run by despots. It's a dangerous time to tell the truth in America. https://t.co/1cUY4viyyy— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 18, 2020
It's kind of crazy how much Cuomo morphs into Al Pacino during this exchange.— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 18, 2020
Who is Arkady Belozovsky?
Belozovsky has been offering sign language interpretation of Cuomo's briefing since March 27. He translates this briefing from a remote studio. He was added to the main feed on May 13, after orders by a federal judge to include a translator after Cuomo was reportedly sued by the Disability Rights New York, advocacy group for the deaf community. New York thus became the 50th state to offer sing-language interpretation os coronavirus briefing on television feed.
Belozovsky is a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate. he is said to have left the former USSR with his family at the age of 16. He understands the needs of the deaf community well as he's deaf himself. Belozovsky is placed in a small frame towards the bottom right of the screen for most of Cuomo's briefing. While some of his gestures are subtle, depending on the tone of the governor, Belozovsky says he takes on "persona of three or four different characters all at a rapid pace so that deaf people can get a clear picture." He told Democrat and Chronicle, "We’re using facial expressions to match the tone of the governor’s remarks."
Social media user applaud Belozovsky's interpretation
Reacting to Cuomo's press briefing one social media user wrote, "I must say after watching Governor Cuomo’s press briefing today I’m not sure if he needs a hug or his sign language interpreter does? Or maybe just a bottle of wine? Wow." While another added, "The star of this show is the awesome sign-language person!" "No one is more committed to their job that this sign language interpreter going full out to match Cuomo’s energy," read another tweet.
I must say after watching Governor Cuomo’s press briefing today I’m not sure if he needs a hug or his sign language interpreter does? Or maybe just a bottle of wine? Wow— Noelle777 (@Noelle7771) November 19, 2020
The star of this show is the awesome sign-language person!— Jeffrey A Tucker (@jeffreyatucker) November 19, 2020
No one is more committed to their job that this sign language interpreter going full out to match Cuomo’s energy https://t.co/Z2RppAybhS— Simone (@SimoneRacanelli) November 18, 2020