Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez is facing a tidal wave of criticism and calls for her resignation after audio files of her making obscenely racist remarks were released on Reddit, including those about a white colleague who adopted a black son.
The Los Angeles Times, which first reported about the recordings on Sunday, provide details of a conversation that took place in October 2021 between Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera during a discussion about redrawing districts.
According to the Times, Martinez criticized another colleague, Councilmember Mike Bonin, who is white, regarding his parenting of his black son, whom she said he treated like an “accessory.”
Martinez reportedly talked about the toddler boy’s behavior during a parade commemorating Martin Luther King, claiming that a float they were riding on would have tipped over if she and another woman hadn’t stepped in to “parent this kid.”
“They’re raising him like a little White kid,” Martinez said, according to the leaked audio. “I was like, ‘This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”‘
Martinez went on to describe Bonin’s son as “ese changuito,” which is Spanish for “that little monkey.”
De León can then be heard making remarks, comparing Bonin’s handling of his son to “when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.” “Su negrito, like on the side,” Martinez said.
Bonin blasted his Latino colleagues in a family statement issued Sunday after the L.A. Times report.
“We are appalled, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attack our son with horrific racist slurs, and talked about her desire to psychically harm him,” said Bonin and his partner, Sean Arian, in a statement. “It’s vile abhorrent and utterly disgraceful. The City Council needs to remove her as Council President immediately, and she needs to resign from office.”
“As parents of a Black child, we condemn the entirety of the recorded conversation, which displayed a repeated and vulgar anti-Black sentiment, and a coordinated effort to weaken Black political representation in Los Angeles. The conversation revealed several layers of contempt for the people of Los Angeles, and a cynical, ugly desire to divide the City rather than serve it,” the statement added.
Fox News reported that it’s not clear who made the recording and/or leaked it.
The outlet added:
But seemingly unaware she was being recorded at the time, Martinez also recalled a conversation she had with businessman Danny Bakewell about possibly transferring Los Angeles International Airport out of Bonin’s council district and into that of Councilmember Marqueece Harris- Dawson. The council president said she told Bakewell, “Go get the airport from his little brother — that little b**** Bonin.”
“Mike Bonin won’t f—ing ever say peep about Latinos. He’ll never say a f—ing word about us,” De León said.
Martinez also blasted Los Angeles County District George Gascón after the colleagues wondered aloud whether the D.A. would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Eunessis Hernandez.
“F— that guy … He’s with the blacks,” Martinez can be heard saying, as reported by FOX11 Los Angeles.
Martinez and de Leon have since issued apologies.
“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. My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time,” Martinez noted in a statement published by FOX 11 Los Angeles.
“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,” de León said. “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.”