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LOS ANGELES, CA – The fallout continues following the anonymously-leaked audio recording of several Latino Los Angeles City Council Members engaged in a racist, homophobic discussion about a fellow council member. Amid the initial uproar, Nury Martinez resigned as the Democratic-led legislative body’s President, although she controversially chose to remain on in her councilmember role despite widespread calls to the contrary.
After prolonged protests – especially on the part of the Black Lives Matter movement – councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, who were also involved in the offensive conversation in the audio leak, were pulled from their respective committee assignments, although officials have stopped short of ejecting them from the City Council itself for the time being.
The controversy stems from an audio recording posted on Reddit on October 9 by an unknown user containing a 2021 conversation between Martinez, Cedillo, de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera that turned sharply racist and homophobic.
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Martinez first criticized LA District Attorney George Gascon, saying, “F**k that guy, he’s with the blacks.” She then called fellow City Council member Mike Bonin – who is white, gay man – a “little bitch,” and describes Bonin’s 8 year-old adopted son – who is black – as a “changuito,” a Spanish racial slur for a black person meaning “monkey” or “ape.”
In addition to Martinez’s resignation as President and Cedillo and de León being stripped of their committee assignments, Herrera also resigned from his union leadership position last week due to outrage over the recording’s contents.
Mitch O’Farrell was appointed as Acting LA City Council President on the heels of Martinez’s resignation, with a formal leadership vote due to take place Tuesday to choose a permanent replacement. BLM leaders are insisting that the City Council choose one of its African American members to “demonstrate its commitment to Black political empowerment and political and racial healing.”
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