Leaked audio reveals Councilmember Nury Martinez making racist comments, Mike Bonin calls for her removal


Los Angeles City Council president Nury Martinez issued a public apology Sunday over statements she says she made “in a moment of intense frustration and anger,” while Councilmember Mike Bonin called on her removal as president and her resignation from office.

Secret recording controversy: LA City Council President Nury Martinez under criticism for racist rem


The comments Martinez referenced are those stemming from a conversation that occurred in or around October of 2021, related to the redistricting process–a discussion which spanned about an hour-long, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

According to the Times, Martinez along with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera were present on the call where they also discussed Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas who had been indicted on charges of federal corruption.

The Times reviewed the recording and reported that Martinez allegedly referred to Bonin’s son who is Black as “ese changuito,” which translates from Spanish to English as “that little monkey.” 

The Times also reported that Martinez appeared to also discuss Bonin’s child’s behavior during a parade. The parade as referenced appears to have occurred around 2017. She allegedly said on the call, “[t]hey’re raising him like a little white kid. I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”

De León, according to the Times, also allegedly likened Bonin’s handling of the child to “when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”

On Sunday, following the publication of the Times’ article, Martinez issued the following statement to CBS Los Angeles: 

“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 shared. “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 similarly issued a public apology: 

“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.” 

Following the revelation of the leaked audio, Bonin shared in an interview, according to the Times, that he was “digusted.” 

“There’s more I will say later, but right now because I’m still digesting it. I’m disgusted and angry and heartsick,” he said. “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 3 years old. Other than that, I’m speechless.” 

Hours later, Bonin and his family issued the following statement, calling on the City Council to remove Martinez as president and calling for Martinez’s resignation from office:


(credit: Twitter)

It remains unclear who recorded the audio and leaked the recording.  

Since the Times’ report dropped, both Martinez and de León have received criticism from Los Angeles political and legal leaders. 

“I am saddened and disappointed by the racist comments made in the conversation between various council members. I share the outrage of Mike Bonin and all members of the African American community. Anti-Blackness has no place in Los Angeles,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement to CBSLA.

Additionally, Rep. Jimmy Gomez also condemned the comments by Martinez and de León but did not call for the resignation of the former. 

Cedillo issued a statement late Sunday night about Martinez’s comments.

People gather outside Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez’s home in Sun Valley.


“I want to start by apologizing. While I did not engage in the conversation in question, I was present at times during this meeting last year. It is my instinct to hold others accountable when they use derogatory or racially divisive language. Clearly, I should have intervened. I failed in holding others and myself to the highest standard. The hurtful and harmful remarks made about my colleague’s son were simply unacceptable. We choose public life, but our families should always be off limits and never part of the political discourse,” Cedillo said in a statement obtained by CBSLA.

Protestors lineup outside Martinez’s home Sunday evening, demanding her resignation as President of the City Council. 

The group of protestors eventually left the residence but not before voicing their opinions about the racially insensitive comments that Martinez made.

LAPD officers were at the scene of the protest and were seen picking up signs after the group of protestors left. 

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