This is why we never go to the Upper East Side: Heiress Jacqueline Kent Cooke, the daughter of former Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, allegedly uttered anti-Semitic statements at a restaurant on New Year’s Eve before assaulting a man with her fancy glass purse. According to the Daily News, she turned herself in at the 19th precinct station house and was arrested.
The incident reportedly began as Cooke was waiting to retrieve her coat after dinner at Caravaggio, the kind of sparklingly goyishe restaurant you’d never find across the park. Ahead of Cooke were Matthew Haberkorn, 52, a lawyer from San Francisco, his wife, four daughters, and 77-year-old mother. They were putting on their coats when the heiress, allegedly inebriated, lost her temper.
“Hurry up Jew,” Haberkorn recalled her saying. The lawyer’s wife, Linda Thomas, asked Cooke to repeat herself, and the heiress allegedly did, saying “Hurry up, Jew. I got places to be.”
“We all got places to be,” Thomas told the News she said in reply. “You know what? I take total offense at that. You’re small-minded.”
As if the situation wasn’t sufficiently fraught, Cooke’s boyfriend intervened with a few choice words of his own, wishing Haberkorn and Thomas’s daughters a “happy Bat Mitzvah.”
Cooke and boyfriend left the restaurant, but Haberkorn wasn’t about to give up. He followed the couple outside, and asked Cooke why she had said what she had. In response, he said, the heiress swung her mirrored Perspex clutch purse and smashed him in the face.
You can see what happened next for yourselves, as one of Haberkorn’s daughters filmed the interaction on her cell phone. It features some strong language, and appears to show a drunk Cooke stumbling and grabbing on to Haberkorn while her boyfriend tries to cut in.
The 29-year-old Cooke is no stranger to altercations, having reportedly been stopped for driving under the influence in 2008 and threatening the officers who stopped her with mentions of her father’s wealth and connections.
Again, this is why we stay on the Upper West Side, where the altercations are all among us Jews and usually involve the deli line at Zabar’s or the narrow aisles at Fairway. It’s just safer that way.
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.