Three Los Angeles City Council members and one top county labor official have been under fire after audio clips were leaked by an anonymous Reddit account. The audio clip was from a conversation that took place last October. It contained offensive and racist language.
Council President Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin de Leon, and Ron Herrera (Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President) participated in the conversation. Redistricting, which occurs once every ten years, was the main focus of the meeting.
Martinez made a comment about George Gascon, Los Angeles County District Attorney, during the conversation after Gascon’s name was mentioned.
Martinez said, “F*** this guy, He’s with blacks.”
Another audio clip can be heard on social media and in a report from The Los Angeles Times. It exposes Martinez’s comments about Mike Bonin (a white man) and his adopted son, the black boy.
Martinez called Bonin’s son “Parece Changuito” or “He’s a monkey” shortly after they had spoken. Later, she referred to Bonin later as a “little bitch”, and said that he raises his child-like “little white kids.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Councilmember de Leon likened Bonin’s handling of his child to Martinez carrying her Louis Vuitton handbag. Later, Bonin would be called the “fourth black member” of the council.
De Leon stated that Mike Bonin would never f***ing say a peep about Latinos. “He won’t f***ing ever say a word about us.”
KTLA reports that Martinez issued an apology statement.
Martinez stated, “In a momentary intense frustration and anger I let the situation get to me and I hold myself responsible for these comments.” “I am sorry for that.”
She said, “The context of the conversation was concern over redistricting and concern about its potential negative effect on communities of color.” “My work speaks for itself.” “I’ve done everything to help this city get through the most difficult times.”
According to KTLA, De Leon issued a statement after the report.
De Leon stated that there were some comments made during the meeting that was inappropriate. He also said that he regretted appearing to condone or contribute to insensitive comments about a colleague’s family. “I have reached out to the colleague.” “I failed to meet the expectations set for my leaders on that day. I will now hold myself to a higher standard.”
Cedillo stated to The Los Angeles Times that he doesn’t “have a recollection” of the conversation.
The Los Angeles Times received a letter from a lawyer representing the L.A. County Federation of Labor, in which he condemned the publication’s use of the transcripts and accused it of “condoning illicit conduct.”
Jeffrey Glasser, general counsel to The Los Angeles Times, supported the right of the newspaper to publish the material in response to the lawyer.
Glasser stated, “It is a fundamental principle of the United States that the receipt and publication of newsworthy information is not prohibited or punished.”
Sunday’s statement by Councilmember Bonin stated that he and his wife were appalled, angry, and completely disgusted at the comments made about their son.
Bonin stated that “We love our boy, a beautiful and joyful child, and we are hurting today.”
“It hurts that one of our son’s earliest encounters with overt racism comes from some of the most powerful public officials in Los Angeles,” he added.
Bonin called upon Martinez, de Leon, and Cedillo for their resignations from the City Council.