NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- John Catsimatidis says the anti-Muslim rants that reportedly appear on the Facebook page of a retired Port Authority cop featured in one of his TV commercials are wrong, but the Republican mayoral candidate is standing behind the ad's message.
The commercial attacks Joe Lhota, the Republican front-runner, for likening Port Authority officers to "mall cops" during a May forum. Lhota later apologized for the remark.
In the Catsimatidis ad, retired Port Authority Detective John Kassimatis delivers the now-famous line: "Mr. Lhota, I'm no mall cop."
Catsimatidis: Campaign Commercial Star's Anti-Muslim Rants 'Wrong'
The New York Post reported that Kassimatis' Facebook page is full of nasty comments about Muslims. Among them: "These animals must be put down."
"Look, he lost 37 close friends on 9/11. You know, it's sensitive," Catsimatidis told WCBS 880's Silverman before a fundraiser in Midtown on Tuesday. "It's wrong. No matter how sensitive it is, it is wrong to do that.
"There's good and bad in every society," he added.
Catsimatidis said the heart of the ad still applies: that Lhota's words were an insult to Port Authority police.
"It is absolutely 110 percent wrong for Mr. Lhota to call them mall cops," he said.
Kassimatis did not return a call seeking comment.
Catsimatidis said he's not concerned that Kassimatis' rants could hurt his campaign, which trails by 24 points in the latest Quinnipiac poll. He added that his internal polls show him being within five to six points of the lead.
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