A series of leaked audio files that were posted recently by an anonymous account on Reddit have put three Los Angeles City Council members, along with a top official for county labor, in the public crosshairs due to a conversation that took place last October in which the people in question could be heard utilizing racist and highly offensive language.
The recorded conversation took part between Council President Nury Martinez with fellow Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera in a meeting that was mostly focused on attempting to redistrict the city, which takes place just once a decade on average.
As part of the conversation, Martinez commented about Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón once his name was brought up.
“F*** that guy,” stated Martinez. “He’s with the blacks.”
Another section of an audio clip, which can be heard via social media platforms and in a report by The Los Angeles Times, highlights statements issued by Martinez concerning Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is a white man, and his adopted son, who is black.
While talking about Bonin, Martinez labeled his son “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey,” just a bit later. She went even further to refer to Bonin as a “little bitch” and claimed he is raising his son like a “little white kid.”
A report from the Los Angeles Times stated that Councilmember de León likened Bonin’s dealing with his child to Martinez carrying her Louis Vuitton handbag. He then chose to refer to Bonin as the council’s “fourth black member.”
“Mike Bonin won’t f***ing ever say peep about Latinos,” expressed de León. “He’ll never say a f***ing word about us.”
Martinez has since released an apology statement, as reported by KTLA.
“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,” stated Martinez. “For that, I am sorry.”
“The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color,” she stated. “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”
De León put forth their own statement in the wake of the report, according to KTLA.
“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,” expressed de León. “I’ve reached out to that colleague personally. On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders — and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”
Cedillo explained that he does not “have a recollection of this conversation,” as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Councilmember Bonin issued a response to the comments this past Sunday evening, claiming that he and his husband were “appalled, angry and absolutely disgusted” regarding the statements made about their son, as reported by KTLA.
“We love our son, a beautiful, joyful child, and our family is hurting today,” read Bonin’s comment. “No child should ever be subjected to such racist, mean and dehumanizing comments, especially from a public official.”
“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 went on.
Bonin has demanded that Martinez, de León, and Cedillo all resign from their position on the city council.