After the leftist Los Angeles Times decided in February to endorse self-proclaimed “bike advocate” Joe Bray-Ali for City Council over incumbent Gil Cedillo, on Thursday they reversed their position, joining the chorus of leftists retracting their endorsement because of Bray-Ali's perceived racism.
The Times wrote:
This week, another side of Bray-Ali was revealed when the website LAist reported that he had frequented viciously racist areas of the Internet and participated in shocking and entirely unacceptable conversations. The revelations are so deeply disturbing — raising serious questions about both his judgment and his character — that The Times has re-evaluated its original position. For the first time in recent memory, the editorial board is officially rescinding its endorsement.
The Times noted Bray-Ali’s participation on Voat, a “no censorship” social media site “which has become a haven for racists and bigots.” The Times pointed out that Bray-Ali commented on a site thread known as “v/Niggers,” and twice used the offensive word himself. The Times added, “He also commented uncritically on a video of a fight between two African American girls; that thread was titled “Sheboons fighting in a gas station.” He posted an offensive comment on “v/FATPEOPLEHATE,” a forum for mean-spirited mocking of overweight people. And on another thread, he disparaged transgender people who seek gender-reassignment surgery.”
In early February, the Times endorsed Bray-Ali, writing:
Many people in the district think of Bray-Ali, 37, as just a bike-shop owner and bike activist. Frustration over Cedillo’s part in stalling bike lanes on Figueroa Street propelled Bray-Ali into this race. But though he may be campaigning atop two wheels, he has educated himself way beyond bike and transit issues. In fact, his understanding of land-use policy is impressive for someone who has never worked in City Hall, and his experience running a small business in the city will make him a rare and important voice on the council.
The Times board interviewed Bray-Ali on Thursday, then decided to retract their endorsement because Bray-Ali’s explanations were “unsatisfying. He has said that he went on the site to 'track' bigots and hatemongers out of 'morbid fascination' and that he sought to pick fights with them. But there’s no indication that he was 'tracking' anyone, and picking fights is exactly what he didn’t do. He participated in the conversations without once criticizing the headlines, the participants or the subject matter, without once noting that such talk was unacceptable or offensive.”
On Thursday, both City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the East Area Progressive Democrats also retracted their endorsements.
Bray-Ali remained defiant, saying, “Those endorsements were a great boost for my campaign, but they do not represent what a campaign needs to win.”