The Biden Administration suggested the Los Angeles City Council members involved in a recently leaked racially insensitive conversation, should resign.

During a Tuesday media briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden heard the audio and felt that Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, should all resign.

“The president is glad to see that one of the participants in that conversation has resigned, but they all should. He believes that they all should resign,” Jean-Pierre said.  “The language that was used and tolerated in that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling. They should all step down.”

President Biden joins a list of officials calling for their resignations, which include multiple L.A. City Council members, multiple L.A. County Supervisors, Mayor Eric Garcetti and both 2022 Los Angeles mayoral candidates.

(Video courtesy of Knock L.A.)

The leaked audio was posted and later removed from the content aggregation website, Reddit, and displayed conversations between council members Martinez, de León, Cedillo, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.

Through different points of the audio, which was originally obtained by the Los Angeles Times and eventually spread through social media, Martinez can be heard addressing District Attorney George Gascón, saying, “Fuck that guy. He’s with the Blacks,” and later described Councilman Mike Bonin’s child, who is Black, as a “changuito,” which translates to “monkey” in English, later alluding to taking him “to the back” because he “needs a beatdown.”

Councilman de León apologized for his involvement in the audio, where he can be heard comparing Black protesters to “The Wizard of Oz,” saying they sound like thousands of people, “but when you actually pull the curtain… you see the little Wizard of Oz.”

Portions of the audio included conversations about the Oaxacan, or Indigenous American community in Los Angeles, with Councilman Cedillo making remarks about their stature and Martinez calling them “feos” or ugly.

The Los Angeles City Council held its first meeting since the leaked audio surfaced and was forced to delay its start due to protesters voicing their distress in the council chambers.

The protesters could be heard shouting, “This meeting cannot start,” and “No meeting unless they resign.”

As their voices grew louder, de León and Cedillo left the room to a chorus of boos from the public.

From there, about an hour of public comment ensued, with the Los Angeles community voicing its grief and despair in their allotted speaking time.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who was a prominent subject in the leaked conversation, spoke in front of the council and audience, expressing his feelings of both sadness and outrage.

“I really do not want to be here today. I want to be home with my family right now, but I want to say a few words,” Bonin said Tuesday. “I am still trying to wrap my head around everything that was said and everything that is happening. As an Angeleno, I am reeling from the revelations of what these people said.”

Also addressing the apologies from his fellow council members, Bonin said, “First you must resign and then ask for forgiveness.”

Council President Pro-Tempore Mitch O’Farrell, who led the meeting Tuesday, shared Bonin’s sentiments, saying, “I do not believe we can have the healing that is necessary, or govern as we need to while Council members Martinez, de León and Cedillo remain as members of this council.”

“I for one am hurt, angry and sad,” O’Farrell added. “The casual racism, the abhorrent language, the dehumanizing racist reference describing a child and the son of a colleague, the denigration of indigenous peoples… the familiar tropes against LGBTQ+ individuals, insulting words describing an Armenian American, the clear abuse of power, carving up the city for pure political gain. The notion that giving renters a greater voice in their government is somehow wrong.”

O’Farrell said the council would hold an election for a new city council president, while the futures of the three council members in the leaked recording is not clear.







































Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.