Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez is facing calls to resign Sunday over racist slurs she directed at colleague Mike Bonin’s young son during a conversation in October 2021.
Martinez and Councilman Kevin de León made racially charged remarks during a talk with Councilman Gil Cedillo and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, in a conversation that focused on the politically sensitive process of redrawing council district boundaries.
The conversation was leaked, appearing on Reddit before it was later removed from the site.
It was not clear who was responsible for the recording or the leak, however the Times is has so far indicated only four people were involved in the conversation.
Martinez and de León both apologized Sunday for their remarks.
“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,” Martinez said in a statement provided to City News Service.
“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.”
De León said: “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. I’ve reached out to that colleague personally,” he said.
“On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders — and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”
Among other comments, Martinez belittled Bonin, who is white and has a Black son, and criticized the child for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying Bonin’s son was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and the other women on the float didn’t step in to “parent this kid.”
“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said. “I was like, `this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”‘
Martinez also called the child “ese changuito,” Spanish for “that little monkey.”
De León also criticized Bonin. “Mike Bonin won’t (f—ing ever say peep about Latinos. He’ll never say a f—ing word about us,” he said.
De León also compared Bonin’s handling of his son at the MLK Parade to “when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”
“Su negrito, like on the side,” Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a Black person that’s considered demeaning by many.
Bonin tweeted a lengthy statement from his family Sunday calling for the council to remove Martinez as president and for her and de León to resign their seats entirely.
Cedillo told The Times that he did not have a recollection of the conversation.
At another point in the leaked conversation, Martinez recalls a conversation with businessman Danny Bakewell about possibly transferring Los Angeles International Airport out of Bonin’s council district and into that of Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
The council president says she told Bakewell to “go get the airport from his little brother — that little b**** Bonin.”
On the subject of Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ suspension amid an indictment on federal corruption charges, Martinez said Controller Ron Galperin would decide whether Ridley-Thomas still gets paid.
“You need to go talk to that white guy,” she says. “It’s not us. It’s the white members on this council that will motherf— you in a heartbeat.”
Martinez also took aim at Los Angeles County District George Gascón in profane terms, after the group appeared to discuss whether Gascón would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Hernandez.
“F— that guy. (inaudible) … He’s with the Blacks,” she said of Gascón.
A spokesperson for Gascón did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Herrera has not commented on the story, but a lawyer representing the L.A. County Federation of Labor sent a letter to The Times alleging that the conversation was recorded in violation of California’s privacy and recording laws.
The Times responded saying it is in the “public’s interest” that the story be reported.
2UrbanGirls contributed to this report.