Mayor says comment on remote workers becoming "losers" was a joke


MINNEAPOLIS — Mayor Jacob Frey is facing some heat for a comment he made earlier this week, calling “at home” workers “losers.” He has since clarified that the comments were made as “a joke.”

When Frey said, if people stayed at home working for more than three months they risk becoming “losers,” he says it was his way of having fun with the crowd at the Minneapolis Downtown Council Annual meeting Wednesday.

“Guys, it was a joke. It was a joke,” Frey said Thursday morning. “People in the room took it as a joke. When it gets taken out of context in a social media post, things can run wild.”

And his comments certainly did run wild. Many people responded negatively on social media, but Frey insists he was joking. Frey said that his joke actually centered around a fictional study, referencing non-existent people and “coming to a conclusion that I think we can all agree would be ridiculous that no study would ever come to.”

Frey then went on to say his responsibility is to bring more people to live, play and work in downtown Minneapolis. He highlighted the good points of downtown during his address, including the growth in housing units, along with the influx of people attending theatre, concerts and restaurants.

Among the things discussed during the Wednesday meeting was the fact that Target is no longer the largest employer in Downtown Minneapolis, having been surpassed by Hennepin Healthcare. Target has been among the employers who are still letting a number of workers work remotely, long after the crest of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, several businesses have seen an uptick in employees coming back to work in offices downtown.

“There are very serious things. We were just discussing one of them a second ago. Cat blankets are not [serious]. It was at a business luncheon and I made a joke. That’s it,” Frey said.

That serious thing referred to by Frey was the controversy over Minneapolis City Council overriding Frey’s veto of the council resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. In the wake of the council’s override, Frey passed his own proclamation calling for a cease-fire.




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