The allegedly racist former Los Angeles city council members who were caught in a recording being racist last year are now filing lawsuits because the publicizing of their racism has ruined their reputations with people who don’t like racists.
One year ago, on October 9, 2022, former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez was secretly recorded calling council member Mike Bonin’s Black child a “little monkey” and saying he deserves a “beatdown” to tame his allegedly wild behavior. Also engaging in the egregiously anti-Black discussion was former councilman Gil Cedillo, who failed to get himself reelected after the scandal, former Los Angeles Labor Federation President Ron Herrera, who, along with Martinez, resigned after the recording went public, and councilman Kevin de León, the only one involved in the discussion who refused to leave his position and is currently up for reelection.
Bonin called de León a “vile racist” and repeatedly called for him to resign.
Now, de León and Cedillo are suing two ex-employees of the Federation of Labor for exposing their little anti-Black rap session.
From ABC 7:
Like Cedillo, de León filed his lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court and used some of the same language alleging the recording was an invasion of privacy and the result of negligence, the newspaper said.
Unlike Cedillo, de León is not suing the Federation, only the two former employees, Santos Leon and Karla Vasquez, who are married, according to the Times. The two are also named in Cedillo’s lawsuit.
When the recording was made, Vasquez was as an executive assistant to then Federation president Ron Herrera, and Leon was the organization’s accountant. Both have since resigned.
A Los Angeles Police Department investigation to determine who recorded the conversation is ongoing and neither Leon nor Vasquez has been publicly identified as suspects in the case.
Though filed separately, the two lawsuits allege the recording, which became public Oct. 9, 2022 on social media, was made without their knowledge or consent and was a “textbook ‘October surprise’” designed to hurt their reputations, the Times reported.
Further, both claim the most egregious remarks on the recording were made by others, not Cedillo or de León.
Cedillo’s filing states others on the recording “made comments that were perceived as highly offensive by many people” but some of the statements were taken out of context or improperly translated from Spanish slang.
So, just to recap: two out of the four alleged racists who gleefully took part in a racist discussion, which, by the way, centered around redistricting congressional maps to dilute Black voting power, are suing because the exposure of their racism made them the real victims. Also, the plaintiffs didn’t actually make the most racist of the racist comments, some of which were taken out of context and mistranslated from Spanish.
One can only wonder which remarks lacked context. Was it when de León—who has since apologized for his participation in anti-Black bigotry but then doubled down on his insistence that Black people have too much political power in his city—likened a Black child to an “accessory” being paraded around like a “Goyard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag”? Do “beatdown” and “monkey” mean something different in Spanish?
The suit filed by Cedillo, who is seeking punitive damages, general damages and compensatory damages, states that his only regret was staying silent while his colleagues casually disparaged Black people, but it also states that “nuance was ignored, context was hijacked and a frenzy was manufactured.”
In other words: Sure, it was racist, but, come on, it wasn’t that racist once you consider “nuance.” But what “nuance” is he referring to? When Cedillo sat silent and seemingly perfectly content with Martinez saying “f**k” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón because “he’s with the Blacks,” was it because there was somehow more to that statement than meets the ear?
At the end of the day, Cedillo and de León—who is seeking unspecified damages to match the unspecified context and “nuance” his group’s we-hate-the-Blacks-o-thon was allegedly missing—willfully engaged in anti-Blackness they could have disengaged in at any time but chose not to. Now, despite their supposed contrition for the racism they never thought would be exposed, they’re suing because the public knowing about their anti-Blackness has hurt them politically.
Meanwhile, Black people are just sitting back and watching America be as American as always.