Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin is demanding that Council President Nury Martinez step down after racist comments she made about the white politician’s young Black son in a private 2021 meeting were leaked this weekend.
Martinez fired off a hasty apology Sunday after a recording surfaced in which she said that Bonin’s son is “like a monkey”—for starters—but she can apparently stuff those sorries in a sack.
It’s unknown who recorded the private, October 2021 meeting or who leaked it, but the other attendees were Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo along with Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The conversation, which was posted to Reddit and later taken down—and the poster suspended—focused largely on the subject of redrawing council district boundaries, the Los Angeles Times reports. More specifically, Martinez, Cedillo, De León and Herrera were addressing the fact that L.A.’s population is roughly half Latino but that they represent less than a third of the council’s districts.
While Latino representation is a thorny topic, the racist barbs spewed by Nury and others during the hour-long exchange sound like something out of The Wolf of Wall Street. Highlights include:
- Martinez said of Bonin’s child,“Parece changuito,” or, “He’s like a monkey.”
- De León compared the way Bonin interacts with his son to “when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”
- Martinez responded to De Leon calling the child a handbag by saying, “Su negrito, like on the side.”
- Suggesting that Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson attempt to move USC and Exposition Park out of Bonin’s district and into his own to gain economic clout, Martinez recalled telling a local business leader, “Go get the airport from his little brother—that little bitch Bonin.”
- Martinez said that when Bonin appeared with his son on a float in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade that the child was “an accessory.” She also mused that when the boy was acting out on the float it was because Bonin was failing to “parent this kid,” saying, “They’re raising him like a little white kid. I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
- De Leon referred to Bonin as the council’s “fourth Black member,” explaining, “Mike Bonin won’t fucking ever say a peep about Latinos. He’ll never say a fucking word about us.”
- When the discussion turned to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, Martinez echoed the feelings of many, many Angelenos when she uttered, “Fuck that guy!” However, any affinity she may have won with that first statement was immediately undercut when she added the shockingly old-timey political machine slur: “He’s with the Blacks.”
The obligatory apologies followed on Sunday, with Martinez telling the Times, “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. 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.”
In his own fast-take grovel regarding the evil crap he said about a child and got busted for a year later, De León called the words that came out of his own mouth “wholly inappropriate” and said he had fallen “short of the expectations we set for our leaders.”
He further offered, “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.”
Showing the kind of courage local politicos are renowned for, Cedillo told the Times, “I don’t have a recollection of this conversation.”
Herrera, meanwhile, took a hilarious approach, threatening to get litigious. While the powerful labor boss is keeping his mouth shut in cringing-minion fashion, a lawyer for his group said that the chat was “recorded in violation of California’s privacy and recording laws on L.A. County Federation of Labor property” and threatened that if the Times published any of its juiciest sweetmeats, “it is condoning this illegal conduct.”
The entire press analyzed that nonlegal theory in a jiffy, however, and decided that the labor boss and his counsel are ultimately sad, stupid, and wrong.
Early on Sunday, Bonin initially said, “There’s more I will say later, but right now because I’m still digesting it. I’m disgusted and angry and heartsick. It’s fair game to attack me but my son? You have to be pretty petty and insecure and venomous to attack a child. He wasn’t even 3 years old. Other than that, I’m speechless.”
By late Sunday afternoon, however, he had finished his meal and demanded Nury’s resignation for a digestif, tweeting, “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.”
He continued, “The City Council needs to remove her as Council President immediately, and she needs to resign from office. Any parent reading her comments will know she is unfit for public office.”
Our family statement about today's ugly and hateful news. pic.twitter.com/0fPPXwsS5B
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) October 9, 2022
Martinez, meanwhile, added to her emergency mea culpa: “My work speaks for itself.”
That sounds like a boast which will be sorely tested in the coming days.
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