L.A. Not-So-Confidential: Democratic L.A. City Council President Resigns Over Leaked Audio of Racist Comments

The president of Los Angeles City Council resigned, and two other council members are under fire after an audio recording of racist remarks leaked online.


The president of Los Angeles City Council resigned, and two other council members are under fire after an audio recording of racist remarks leaked online and transcripts were published by the Los Angeles Times. All three lawmakers are Democrats.

  • Councilwoman Nury Martinez was recorded speaking with Council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, a 2018 U.S. Senate candidate and onetime mayoral hopeful, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera about the city’s decennial redistricting process in October 2021.
  • Nury Martinez is stepping down as president of the council – but not from her city council post representing Los Angeles’ sixth district– effective immediately. “I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry,” said Martinez in a statement.
  • Herrera and de León both apologized for their participation in the conversation, but neither resigned from their offices. Cedillo claimed to The Times, “I don’t have a recollection of this conversation.”
  • Martinez disparaged white Councilman Mike Bonin for using his adopted black son as an “accessory” like a “Louis Vuitton handbag” and said the child was “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey.” She called her colleague a “little bitch” and mocked “ugly” Oaxacan migrants.
  • Referring to the behavior of Bonin’s then three-year-old son at a 2017 parade, Martinez said, “This kid needs a beatdown” because his parents are “raising him like a little white kid.”
  • “It hurts that one of our son’s earliest encounters with overt racism comes from some of the most powerful public officials in Los Angeles,” Bonin said in a statement posted to Twitter. He called on all four participants in the conversation to resign their posts.
  • Congresswoman Karen Bass and developer Rick Caruso, the Democratic candidates to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, both called for all three city councilmembers to resign immediately.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • CNN noted the tape leaked just weeks before the election for the next mayor of Los Angeles and several city council seats, and its origin is unclear.
  • The New York Times wrote the recording laid bare the at-times ugly racial politics dividing Los Angeles between Latino politicians like Martinez and de León representing the city’s largest ethnic group, the city’s powerful Black community, wealthy white Angelenos, and the growing Asian community.
  • POLITICO reported both mayoral candidates, several city council members, and the leaders of the powerful SEIU California and California Federation of Teachers labor unions have all now called for all involved to resign.



  • National Review noted Martinez cut LAPD funding by $150 million after the death of George Floyd in the name of dismantling “systems…designed to harm people of color” in order to create “a more equitable city.”
  • A lawyer representing the L.A. County Federation of Labor condemned the Los Angeles Times for publishing the transcripts and accused the paper of “condoning illegal conduct,” the Daily Wire reported. The organization’s president, Ron Herrera, was on the leaked phone call.
  • Fox News Digital is waiting for comment from Councilwoman Martinez on whether she “believes it is hypocritical to demand police funding cuts to fight racism and then turn around and use racist language.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2022