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Council President Nury Martinez at City Hall on Aug. 30, 2022, in Los Angeles. | Source: Irfan Khan / Getty

Former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, the disgraced politician who led the racist with other city officials that was secretly recorded, is speaking out publicly about the scandal for the first time since it all came to light one year ago. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a quick refresher from our previous reporting:

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.

Martinez can also be heard saying “f*ck” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón because “he’s with the Blacks.”

Then there’s this part reported by NBC 4 Los Angeles:

In the leaked audio recording, Martinez mocked Indigenous Mexican immigrants of Oaxacan descent living in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, calling them “short, dark people.” “I don’t know where these people are from. I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here. … Tan feos [they’re ugly],” she said.

She called those comments a “horrible joke.”

But now, she wants everyone to know she’s not really racist and she’s really, really sorry her own words indicated otherwise. In fact, Martinez now appears to be claiming she’s caught a not-so-rare case of anti-Black bigot amnesia and she doesn’t even remember what she said.

“I don’t remember exactly, I even had to hear the audio back …of what I was talking about,” Martinez told the LA Times. “I used language, I expressed myself in a way that was really shameful for me. I made a joke in an environment where I felt as if that’s how things were going on. In reality, I don’t have the words to express how badly I feel for having said that. It wasn’t my intent to make anyone feel bad. And there were comments that were very hurtful to the Black community and especially toward a Black child, the son of a colleague.”

Then she claimed her “little monkey” remark wasn’t meant to be racist at all and that the context of the remark was lost in translation because she actually used the word “changuito,” which translates to “little monkey,” to refer to the Black son of former Councilman Mike Bonin.

“In my home, we used that word a lot,” Martinez said. “My mother, when we were little and we played, told us, ‘You look like a little monkey.’ So, for me, using the word never meant anything racist against Black people. Clearly, I now understand how it was perceived. Clearly, I understand and take complete responsibility for that, but my intention wasn’t that.”

Yeah—Black people are definitely buying that. We’re also sure there’s some Spanish idiom that perfectly explains why “f*ck” him because “he’s with the Blacks” also isn’t racist, just cultural. 

Cedilowho, along with de León, has filed a lawsuit over the exposure of their racist and anti-Black discussion because, apparently, they’re upset that their racism has ruined their reputation with people who don’t like racists—also claimed remarks were taken out of context. His suit claims “nuance was ignored, context was hijacked and a frenzy was manufactured.”

All of the offending council members are Latino, but they seem to be taking their cues from the Caucasian’s Guide to Racist Apologism, which includes claiming they were taken out of context when the context is actually as clear as their contempt for Black people, claiming they’re not really racist, just “angry,” claiming that the outrage is “manufactured,” and, of course, making themselves the victim.

More from NBC:

Martinez said she feels scared following the events, saying she’s received death threats against herself and her family. As for her future following the political scandal, she said it presented a moment for reflection and regret.

“I live with so much shame every day, and so much guilt, especially around the little boy,” Martinez said, referring to Bonin’s son. “But I think my political differences with his father on the council, and the friction over the last two years that I was council president and guiding the city through COVID, I walked into that room so frustrated and so angry that I took it out on a little boy, and I should have known better.”


Again, Black people ain’t buying it, and folks on X aren’t either.

All of this just screams: “I’m not sorry about my racism, I’m just sorry I got caught.”

Again, it’s very American.


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