St. John’s has terminated its assistant fencing coach for shocking racist comments made during a virtual clinic that was leaked on Instagram, the school confirmed to The Post.
Boris Vaksman was let go on Wednesday after his scathing comments – he said the “majority” of blacks steal, kill and do drugs, and President Abraham Lincoln “made a mistake” by ending slavery — went public.
“As soon as the recording was brought to our attention the matter was immediately investigated and the individual no longer works at the University,” St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg said in a statement. “The racist comments expressed are completely unacceptable and a rejection of everything for which the University stands.”
Vaksman had been an assistant coach at St. John’s since 2006 under Yury Gelman and he served as the United State Fencing Association’s junior national team coach from 2005-09. He is also a USA Fencing referee and coach within Fencer’s Club, a private fencing club. His name and bio were removed from the St. John’s website immediately.
In the video, he starts by saying, “Because the most trouble [is] coming from where? … from black people.” Later, he said: “Because they don’t want to work, they steal, they kill, they [do] drugs, everything comes from [black people]. The majority.”
Then, it somehow got worse.
“I think … what’s his name, Lincoln, made a mistake,” Vaksman said, a reference to President Abraham Lincoln ending slavery in 1863 by signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
The video was posted anonymously on Instagram and reposted by Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad. In her post, she wrote: “This video is a reminder that coaches and teachers, those people entrusted with building us, educating us, and protecting us, too often perpetuate the discriminatory treatment and behaviors that normalize racism.”
USA Fencing addressed the issue without naming Vaksman specifically, writing on Instagram that, “Today, USA Fencing became aware of an audio recording of a fencing coach that included virulently racist comments targeting the Black community. We are disgusted by these statements, which are racist, offensive and have no place in the USA Fencing community or in society as a whole.”
Vaksman didn’t immediately respond for a request for comment. He is originally from the Ukraine and as a fencer himself, was a four-time national Epee champion and a four-time Soviet Union Champion.