Los Angeles councilman Mike Bonin has released a statement on behalf of his family accusing council president Nury Martinez of making “vile, abhorrent” comments about his son.
Martinez’s remarks sparked calls for the LA councilwoman to resign after a leaked audio recording appeared on Reddit late last week.
The surreptitious recording was made during an October 2021 meeting in which Martinez and colleagues Kevin De Leon, Gil Cedillo and a top labor official were discussing redistricting.
Mike Bonin, whose son was attacked in the recording, spoke on Sunday night about how the comments affected his family.
Nury Martinez comments attacked Mike Bonin’s son
In the now-viral recording, Martinez can be heard making a number of racially charged comments about councilman Mike Bonin’s son, who is black.
The Los Angeles Times reviewed the audio, which spans about an hour in total. Martinez and her colleagues, who don’t appear to know they are being recorded, allegedly discuss the behavior of Bonin’s son during a parade.
Martinez allegedly referred to the child as “parece changuito,” which translates to “like a little monkey” before adding she believed he “needs a beatdown,” the LA Times reports.
The parade in question seems to have taken place in 2017, when Bonin’s son, Jacob, was two or three years old.
In other fragments of the recording, Martinez allegedly uses a sexist slur to refer to councilman Bonin, while her colleague Kevin De León appears to compare Bonin’s behavior towards his son to Martinez’s handling of a Louis Vuitton bag.
Martinez and De Leon apologize for remarks
After the comments were made public, Martinez issued an apology, saying: “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.”
Councilman De León said he regretted his role in “appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family.” He added he had “reached out to that colleague personally.”
“On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders – and I will hold myself to a higher standard,” he added.
Bonin brands remarks ‘ugly, hateful’
Councilman Mike Bonin released a statement on behalf of his family in which he called for Martinez’s removal as Los Angeles City Council president and branding her “unfit for public office.” He also called for the resignation of councilmen De León and Ron Herrera, who can also be heard in the leaked audio.
“We are appalled, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with horrific racist slurs and talked about her desire to physically harm him,” Bonin’s statement read. “It’s vile, abhorrent and utterly disgraceful.”
Bonin condemned Martinez’s comments as something “no child should ever be subjected to.”
Read Bonin’s full statement below:
Councilman Bonin and husband: ‘Our family is hurting today’
Bonin also told the LA Times in an interview he was “disgusted and angry and heartsick” at his colleagues’ comments. “It’s fair game to attack me but my son? You have to be pretty petty and insecure and venomous to attack a child. He wasn’t even three years old.”
Bonin told the oulet he thought the events discussed on the recording were a likely reference to the 2017 MLK parade in Los Angeles.
Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, adopted their son, Jacob, with the help of non-profit foster family, adoption and advocacy agency Extraordinary Families.
The happy family often appear on Bonin’s Instagram feed, including on vacation, hikes and events such as Father’s Day.
Arian added that, “as a political spouse,” the first thing he learned was not to respond.
“But I cannot stay silent when someone attacks my beautiful child,” he wrote.
Read his full statement below: