Controversy erupted over the weekend after an audio recording of a meeting last year was leaked that revealed racist and offensive remarks uttered by top Democratic Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council, including then-Council President Nury Martinez.
Amid furious demands for apologies and resignations from the exposed participants, Martinez is the only one thus far to step down from her elected position, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The other two council members caught on the recording, Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo, have issued apologies but not resigned, though L.A. County labor union leader Ron Herrera, who was also at the meeting, apologized and tendered his resignation on Monday.
“Racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Armenian comments”
The leaked audio came from an unofficial meeting in October 2021 about redistricting in the city that featured strategizing on how to maximize assets and benefits and political power for the Latino council members, and according to The Bee, “Martinez was caught saying racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Armenian comments.”
That audio had first appeared on Reddit but was soon reported on initially by the Los Angeles Times with a focus on the racist and homophobic remarks that Martinez had aimed at fellow council member Mike Bonin, who is white and gay and was described as a “little b—h,” and his adopted black son, who Martinez referred to in Spanish as “like a monkey” and also referred to the boy as a flaunted “accessory” akin to a designer handbag.
Breitbart reported that the audio also revealed anti-Semitic and anti-Armenian comments from Martinez as well, as she had referred to the “judios” and how they had “cut their deal with South L.A.” to maintain power in that area and “are gonna screw everybody else.”
As for her apparent beef with Armenians, she also singled out two council members of Armenian descent — Paul Krekorian and Adrin Nazarian — and spoke critically of their efforts to consolidate Armenian influence in a single district … even though that is essentially what she and the other Latino members were discussing for themselves on a broader scale.
The now-former council president also offered up offensive commentary about some of the black and white members of the council that could be construed as racist and offensive, as well as Mexican Oaxacan immigrants who have congregated in Koreatown and were described by her derisively as “little short dark people.”
Martinez has now resigned
The Bee reported that there was an immediate and intense backlash from fellow Democrats and the general public after the leaked audio was published by the Times, which prompted an apology from Martinez on Monday and an announcement that she had stepped down from her role as council president.
That wasn’t sufficient to quell the outraged demands, however, nor was an announced leave of absence on Tuesday, which led to Martinez completely resigning from the council by Wednesday.
“It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home,” she said in a statement.
Martinez was clearly the most outspoken in that audio recording in terms of the racist and offensive comments, but De Leon offered up questionable remarks of his own and Cedillo is not blameless, either, so it will be interesting to see if either or both of them is pushed to also resign their council seats in the coming days as well.