The videographer’s assistant involved in an antisemitic conversation caught on a bride’s wedding video is running another company — and advertising its services for simchas.
Millions heard videographer Anthony Aurelius defend Hitler and call Jewish women “cows” after the JC published the story – and the video – of how he unwittingly sent a bride the unedited wedding video.
Mr Aurelius apologised to Claudia Gocman, 27, and her husband Stan, 28, from Edgware, who reacted with horror when they saw the film.
But now the JC can reveal that the unseen man at Mr Aurelius’s side during the filming of the wedding party at a central London hotel was Anujit Sarkar, a 31-year-old Bangladeshi from South Croydon.
The pair had recorded themselves chatting while filming the Israeli dancing and during a car journey from the Central Synagogue after accidentally leaving the camera turned on.
I never meant to say that. I never meant it like that. Maybe I was just tired
Mr Aurelius was heard to suggest that Jewish people thought “they’re better than everybody else”. Mr Sarkar replied: “That’s why Holocaust.” Mr Aurelius replied: “I don’t think I blame Hitler.”
On another clip, Mr Sarkar was heard to say: “They are the meanest people in the world.”
At the time of the Gocmans’ wedding, Mr Sarkar was working for Mr Aurelius’s company, Raising Awareness Productions. That company later ceased trading. Mr Sarkar now works as a director for Diamond Studios, a company whose website was as of last night offering its services to film simchas at synagogues and hotels. Mr Aurelius was a director of the company until July this year.
When we reminded Mr Sarkar of his part in the conversation, he said: “I never meant to say that. I never meant it like that. Maybe I was tired or something.
“It is really awful. I’m Hindu and in Bangladesh there are a lot of Muslims – so I have been through this racism.”
Of Mr Aurelius, he said: “He’s difficult to work with. He’s quite stressful. I filmed many Jewish weddings with him. Now we are not in contact.”
The Institute of Videography, which monitors videographers, said it had received complaints about Mr Aurelius. Anthony Manning, an executive, said: “Mr Aurelius, who was an unqualified member of the IOV, was using our logo on his website, which he is not entitled to do.”
Mr Manning told Mrs Gocman in an email: “I can say on behalf of the IOV that we utterly deplore the behaviour to which you were subjected by Mr Aurelius, in terms of his business practice, his hurtful personal comments and blatant indefensible racist remarks and attitudes.”
Since the story broke last week, other Jewish couples have come forward to complain about Mr Aurelius.
Elliot and Pascale Setyon, both 33, said they paid Raising Awareness Productions £900 for a video of their wedding. They had to wait seven months for it to arrive and, just like Mrs and Mrs Gocman, paid extra for the unedited footage. Mr Setyon said: “The guy Mr Aurelius sent to film it missed out our best man’s speech and part of my speech. I was really angry.
“It was edited so badly and he said I should have gone for a better package. I paid £50 for the unedited footage but I can’t even look at it. He ruined it.”
Misha and Graham Levi-Samper had booked Mr Aurelius one year before their August wedding at the Shendish Manor Hotel in Hemel Hempstead. Fifteen days before the big day, he told them Raising Awareness Productions had gone bust and they lost the £975 they had paid towards the £1950 package.
“I was horrified,” said Mrs Levi-Samper, 31, who works in events at Imperial College Union.
Her father, Sassoon Levi, from Cockfosters, said: “After we got the letter saying he was out of business, none of his phone numbers were working and his website was down so we couldn’t contact him. Thankfully, we didn’t lose the deposit because we had wedding insurance. But it did put us in a very awkward position.”
Mr Aurelius refunded the money to Mrs Gocman and apologised for the footage the couple were sent. He later told the JC: “They want to attack me. It’s very upsetting,” adding: “My comments were definitely not done out of malice or ignorance. I never meant to hurt anyone. In retrospect, it was just an idle stupid conversation with my partner. ”
Yesterday, when told that Diamond Studios was promoting Jewish weddings, Mrs Gocman said: “This is sickening and they both deserve to never work in the industry again. Both Anthony’s and Anujit’s behaviour is disgusting.”