Nury Martinez Racism Scandal Explained

Nury Martinez was a member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the 6th district. A Democrat, Martinez became president of the city council in January 2020.

Leaked audio of Martinez making racist comments were leaked in October 2022, leading to widespread condemnation and calls for her to resign.

Leaked audio of Martinez’s racist comments:

Reddit Leak Of Racist Comments

Audio recordings of Martinez making racist comments in 2021 were anonymously leaked on to Reddit in October 2022.

In the recording, Martinez said councilman Mike Bonin, who is white and who has a Black son, handled his son like he was an “accessory.” Martinez described Bonin’s son as “Parece changuito” which translates to “like a monkey.”

Mike Bonin
Mike Bonin

Speaking about Bonin’s parenting, Martinez said, “they’re raising him like a little white kid.” In reference to the child’s alleged misbehavior during an appearance in a 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, Martinez said, “I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”

In a discussion with councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, Martinez described Bonin as a “little bitch.”

While talking about Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, Martinez said, “fuck that guy … he’s with the Blacks.”

Martinez was recorded referring to City Controller Ron Galperin as “that white guy.” She said, “It’s the white members on this council that will motherfuck you in a heartbeat.”

Fallout, Calls For Resignation

President Joe Biden called for Martinez and two other members of the council to resign. White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre told reporters, “He believes that they all should resign. The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement condemning the recordings: “There is no place in our city family for attacks on colleagues and their loved ones, and there is no place for racism anywhere in L.A.”

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore condemned Martinez’s comments: “Today’s revelation of the remarks by our members of our council leaders hurts me to my core. This is not the Los Angeles I know or reflective of the beliefs of the women & men of LAPD. Such remarks are unacceptable in any setting. A dark day for our City of Angels.”

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), whose congressional district includes regions of the city of Los Angeles, said, “I am appalled by the personal attacks and comments made about a child and strongly condemn the racist language.”

Bonin and his husband Sean Arian called on Martinez, Cedillo and de León to resign after the comments surfaced. In a statement they said, “The entirety of the recorded conversation … displayed a repeated and vulgar anti-Black sentiment, and a coordinated effort to weaken Black political representation in Los Angeles.”

Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Paul Koretz also called on Martinez to step down from the city council.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board called on Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo to resign. From the Times: “Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez should resign from the council. There is no way she can fairly represent her constituents after leaked audio captured her deplorable and racially divisive comments, her political machinations to maintain power at the expense of communities, and her use of racist, homophobic tropes to describe her colleague, and worse, his young son. She should leave elected office immediately.”

Protesters went to Martinez’s house after the comments were published and called on her to step down. One protester, Maria Estrada, told TV station ABC7: “Really disgusted, disappointed and embarrassed, because I’m Mexican and she’s supposed to represent our community.”

Martinez Apology & Resignation

After the Los Angeles Times reported on the leaked audio, Martinez released a statement: “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.”

She also said: “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” and “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”

Martinez also announced that she would be resigning from her role as president of the council but would stay in office as a member of it.

Martinez later announced that she would resign from the city council. In a statement, she said, “It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home.”

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