Top CA Senator Turns On L.A. Democrats Over Racist Audio Leak
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: Senator Alex Padilla, (D-CA), speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing for Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, on February 1, 2022, in Washington, DC.
Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) called for several L.A. City Council Democrats to resign after audio leaked of the city council president making racist remarks about black people.

In the audio, from 2021, L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez compared the adopted black son of fellow council member Mike Bonin to a monkey. She later referred to Bonin, a gay white man, as a “little b****” and said he is raising his child like a “little white kid.” She has since resigned as president but appears to remain on the council.

“I am appalled at the racist, dehumanizing remarks made by Los Angeles City officials and leaders that were made public yesterday,” said Padilla. “As a father, I am offended that an innocent child was the target of these remarks.”

Padilla also called for the resignation of Councilmembers Kevin de León, a California Democratic heavyweight who unsuccessfully challenged Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in a 2018 primary, and Gil Cedillo. Both of them were part of the discussion when Martinez made the comparison, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cedillo doesn’t appear to speak during that segment, and told the news agency on Sunday night, before the news broke, that he did not recall that conversation.

During one portion of the leaked audio, de León suggests that Bonin treats his black child as an accessory, the same way one would treat a Louis Vuitton handbag. Martinez also suggests Bonin brings his child around during Black History Month.

Both candidates for the Los Angeles mayoral race have called on the three Democrats to resign, as has United Teachers Los Angeles, the powerful union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers.

Martinez issued a statement regarding her resignation as council president, and said she takes responsibility for her comments.

“I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words: to my colleagues, their families, especially to Mike, Sean, and your son. As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your entire family for putting you through this,” she added.

De León also apologized, calling the conversation “wholly inappropriate.”

“I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private,” said de León. “I’ve reached out to that colleague personally.”

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