LA City Council President Resigns After Racist Remarks About Black People Exposed
The former president described the son of a colleague as a "little monkey."
October 10, 2022 at 9:13 pm
The Los Angeles City Council is facing backlash after leaked audio revealed racist and derogatory remarks from council president Nury Martinez and her colleagues, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The audio, posted anonymously to Reddit earlier this month, captured a conversation between Martinez and members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, along with Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
As the group came together in 2021 and spoke about their frustration with the city’s redistricting commission, Martinez made disparaging comments about the adopted Black son of Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white.
Martinez described the son as “parece ch****ito,” which translates to “looks like a little monkey,” according to Knock LA. The audio also revealed that Martinez referred to Bonin as a “little b***h.”
According to CNN, Martinez said Bonin appeared with his son on a float in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and handled “his young Black son as though he were an accessory.”
The president appeared to have an issue with the child misbehaving on the float.
“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said in the audio. “I was like, ‘This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.’”
Speaking about Los Angeles County Dist. Attorney George Gascón, Martinez said “F**k that guy … he’s with the Blacks.”
Martinez issued a statement to CNN after the Los Angeles Times published an article on the controversy on Sunday.
“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry,” she said.
According to Martinez, the conversation was focusing on the “redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color.”
“My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time,” Martinez said.
Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, are asking for the president to resign, as reported by Los Angeles magazine.
“We are appalled, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with horrific racist slurs, and talked about her desire to physically harm him. It’s vile, abhorrent, and utterly disgraceful,” the couple said in a joint statement.
Our family statement about today's ugly and hateful news. pic.twitter.com/0fPPXwsS5B
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) October 9, 2022
Cedillo said he “did not engage in the conversation in question,” but he was present at times during the meeting.
“It is my instinct to hold others accountable when they use derogatory or racially divisive language. Clearly, I should have intervened,” Cedillo said in a statement, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “I failed in holding others and myself to the highest standard. The hurtful and harmful remarks made about my colleague’s son were simply unacceptable. We choose public life, but our families should always be off limits and never part of the political discourse.”
De León expressed a similar sentiment.
“On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders – and I will hold myself to a higher standard,” De León said in a statement to CNN. “There were comments made in the context of this meeting that are wholly inappropriate; and I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private. I’ve reached out to that colleague personally.”
Herrera also apologized, adding that he “didn’t step up to stop them.”
As of early Monday afternoon, Martinez has resigned from her position as president of the Los Angeles City Council.
“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments,” she said in her statement. “I am so sorry.”
Martinez added that she is “truly ashamed” of her actions and issued an apology to all parties involved in the incident.
“Therefore, effective immediately I am resigning as President of Los Angeles City Council,” she said.
Nury Martinez resigns as President of the Los Angeles City Council: “I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry.” pic.twitter.com/QNd9NgyVAr
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 10, 2022
Los Angeles is preparing for the Nov. 8 election, which will decide the next mayor of Los Angeles and several city council seats.