City Council challenger Joe Bray-Ali’s campaign took another publicity hit Wednesday with the revelation of derogatory comments he posted online targeting the black and transgender communities, along with mentally disabled and overweight people.
The comments, first reported by LAist, include the use of the N-word during participation in a racist forum dedicated to expressing hatred of black people. The revelations come about a week after Bray-Ali apologized for a 9- year-old YouTube video in which he made comments directed at Mexicans.
The newly reported comments were made on a Reddit-like website called Voat under an online alias, ubrayj02, which Bray-Ali has used as his MySpace, Flickr and YouTube handle for more than a decade, according to LAist. Some of the comments are just over a year old.
Bray-Ali has deleted the Voat comments over the last few days, LAist reported.
The Bray-Ali campaign did not respond to a request for comment from City News Service. But Bray-Ali told LAist, “Looking back on the comments, I’m embarrassed and ashamed. I apologize to my wife, daughter, family and community for putting them in this situation. My commitment to being accountable and of service to the community continues.”
Bray-Ali, 38, is challenging 1st District City Councilman Gil Cedillo, 63. Cedillo was forced into the May 16 runoff when the incumbent fell just short of the required 50 percent of the vote on March 7, finishing with 49.34 percent to Bray-Ali’s 37.97 percent.
“The comments made by Joe Bray-Ali on Voat are disgraceful and have no place in the public square,” Cedillo said. “His assault on people from all walks of life clearly demonstrates that he is not fit for public office, and particularly unsuited to represent a district as diverse as Los Angeles’ 1st. This pattern of behavior is not acceptable in the Los Angeles City Council. I vehemently denounce his comments.”
CD1 includes Highland Park, Westlake, Pico Union, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown, Glassell Park, Echo Park and Mount Washington.
Leaders of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network — the nonprofit civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton — called on Bray-Ali to drop out of the race and for Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to pull his endorsement of Bray-Ali.
“Bray-Ali is clearly unfit to serve in public service as a council member and doesn’t deserve the support of Council member O’Farrell or any voter. His transphobic, fat-shaming comments while participating on a racist website demonstrates he doesn’t have the moral character or leadership to serve as an elected official,” said Najee Ali, political director of NAN, and Pastor K.W.Tullloss, CEO of NAN, in a joint statement.
In one of the forums, which uses the N-word as its title, Bray-Ali commented on some videos of black people fighting with derogatory headlines like “Elementary Zoo Fight” and “Sheboons fighting at a gas station.”
Bray-Ali made comments about the fighting skills and appearance of the people in the videos, and also used the word “retard” to describe a cameraman’s skills.
Other commentators use the N-word and other derogatory and racist language repeatedly, and Bray-Ali did not denounce the language in his own posts. One commentator said, “I like it when they die. Black lives don’t matter. Good for entertainment though.”
Bray-Ali also used the N-word himself when he said that dark-skinned people in a particular image were not Africans, which should disqualify them from being called the N-word.
Another online comment talks about how girls with a weave have an advantage in fighting over girls with long hair, and he also made comments in a forum called “v/FATPEOPLEHATE,” which is dedicated to mocking overweight people.
In commenting on an overweight woman accused of aiding in the sexual abuse of her daughter, Bray-Ali said, “If they keep her on her diet, that won’t be a long lifetime.”
In another forum, Bray-Ali said gender-reassignment surgery for transgender people “doesn’t seem like something worthy of praise, but instead of being criticized as a shameful excess.”
Bray-Ali is a former bicycle shop owner and biking activist. Although he has never held elected office, he received the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times editorial board and O’Farrell.
O’Farrell is openly gay and a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. He did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Last week, City News Service reported on a 9-year-old YouTube video in which Bray-Ali spoke into the camera and asked why Mexicans in his neighborhood always honk their horns instead of using a doorbell. Bray-Ali first apologized for the video to City News Service, but later told The Times the video was intended to be a question for a humorous OC Weekly column, “Ask a Mexican.”
— City News Service
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