Nury Martinez leak reveals insults about Jews, including Armenians

In the same leaked audio clips posted on Reddit in which former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez made racist remarks about black people and Oaxacans, she also made crude remarks about Jews and Armenians.

Martinez said Tuesday she was taking a leave of absence from the city council two days after a recording surfaced of her mocking some of her colleagues and making racist remarks. Martinez resigned as city council chairman on Monday.

For the record:

2:46 p.m. October 11, 2022An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Councilor Kevin de León as saying, “It ends with ian, I bet you.” Councilor Gil Cedillo made the remark.

In the recording, reviewed by The Times, Martinez can be heard: “judios‘ – meaning Jews in Spanish – ‘break their deal with South LA’

Martinez responded by establishing Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who concluded, “I’m sure Katz and his crew have an agenda,” citing Richard Katz former member of the State Assembly.

Katz was a member of the city’s 21-member New Borough Commission, which worked on the council borough boundary maps. He was an agent for City Councilman Bob Blumenfield.

“You’re going to screw everyone else,” Martinez said in the recording.

Ron Herrera, former president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and Nury Martinez, former president of the Los Angeles City Council, discuss Jewish politicians, and Martinez claims the “Judios” are “making fun of everyone else.”

The conversation took place in October 2021 and also involved council members Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo. They discussed maps proposed by the Redistribution Commission.

Herrera resigned Monday night following backlash over the comments. Martinez, Cedillo and De León were also repeatedly asked to resign.

Martinez also spoke about Member of Parliament Adrin Nazarian, who is of Armenian descent, and Councilor Paul Krekorian, the first Armenian-American to be elected to public office in Los Angeles.

“He also wants his man to be elected,” Martinez said, looking at Krekorian. “So he needs a district that Adrin Nazarian could win. That’s what they want. They want to assure, they want to be assured that they don’t have an Armenian district in the valley because there isn’t one, but they want as many Armenians as possible to be able to play in that district.”

Martinez added that she didn’t know if Nazarian could be elected in a “fairly white” district.

“Well, I don’t think Adrin will… be chosen. If a white woman was a respectable white businesswoman in this county… [it] is still pretty white. But that’s at your expense,” she said. “I’m not – I’m not making this deal with anyone because I don’t know. I don’t know if he can win.”

Later in the conversation, Martinez attempted to identify Areen Ibranossian, a former Krekorian chief of staff who is now a senior adviser to Rick Caruso’s campaign for mayor. Someone in the room asks, “What’s his name? What does she look like?” She said he was “the guy with the one eyebrow.”

“I like him,” Martinez said, adding that he is married to a friend of hers.

When Martinez couldn’t remember his last name and asked what it was, Cedillo replied, “I bet it ends in ian.”

On Tuesday, Nazarian called for the resignations of Martinez, Cedillo and De León.

“The racist views and approaches to governance expressed by councilors Martinez, Cedillo and De León represent everything that is wrong in our city government,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook. “In a Council whose membership is filled with historic firsts, prejudice should have no place in our fellowship’s leadership conversations. This approach to governance only aims to pit disenfranchised and often traumatized communities against one another at a moment in our history when unity could not be more important.”

The Armenian National Committee of the Western Region of America also condemned the council members’ comments.

“These statements not only betray their mission to serve all people regardless of identity, but also explicitly show their disrespect for the diverse communities of Los Angeles,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. “Racist language directed against individuals and groups in Los Angeles is totally unacceptable and reflects a dramatic and egregious failure.”

The organization also called for an investigation into how the recording was made and leaked, saying the context of the conversation between the local politicians and union leaders raises serious concerns about the integrity of the reallocation process.

“This process should not be marred by the illegal intervention of policymakers in backdoor meetings outside of the public eye,” the statement said.

Martinez, De León, Cedillo and Herrera apologized Sunday for their role in the conversation.

Martinez said in a statement announcing her leave of absence that the aftermath of the taping was “one of the most difficult times of my life.” She also apologized to “the residents of Council District 6, my colleagues and the City of Los Angeles.”

In one of the leaked audio clips, Martinez referred to Councilor Mike Bonin’s young black son as “because changito‘ or ‘like a monkey’ and said Bonin treated his son as if he were an ‘accessory’. She also once called Bonin a “little bitch”.

Martinez also mocked Oaxacans, saying, “F–that guy… He’s with the black guys,” while speaking on Los Angeles County Dist. atti George Gascon.

Comments from the leaked footage have sparked outrage across LA, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Caruso, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and scores of city council members calling for Martinez’s resignation.

Times contributor Dakota Smith contributed to this report.

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