Joe Bray-Ali, a Democrat candidate for Los Angeles City Council, lost the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times last week after admitting that he had made controversial remarks about black, obese and transgender people in an online forum.
In an Apr. 27 editorial, the Times wrote:
The Los Angeles Times endorsed community activist Joe Bray-Ali for City Council over incumbent Gil Cedillo because he seemed refreshingly energetic, well-prepared on the issues, knowledgeable about land-use policy — and likely to shake up what had become an entrenched political system.
But this week, another side of Bray-Ali was revealed when the website LAist reported that he had frequented viciously racist areas of the Internet and participated in shocking and entirely unacceptable conversations. The revelations are so deeply disturbing — raising serious questions about both his judgment and his character — that The Times has re-evaluated its original position. For the first time in recent memory, the editorial board is officially rescinding its endorsement.
Ironically, just 10 days ago, Bray-Ali was calling for his opponent to publicly condemn one of his supporters over a racist comment at a public debate.
The online news outlet LAist exposed a trail of comments made on Voat, a “Reddit-like online forum.” called Voat [links removed]:
…As recently as a little over a year ago, Bray-Ali made comments on a racist forum called “v/Niggers,” as well as comments on “v/FATPEOPLEHATE,” a forum devoted to mocking overweight individuals. Bray-Ali also wrote on a separate Voat thread that gender reassignment surgery for transgender individuals should be “criticized as a shameful excess.”
Bray-Ali has confirmed that he made the comments in question, and apologized for their content.
“Looking back on the comments, I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he told the online new outlet.
The Times reports that at a follow-up meeting with their editorial board, Bray-Ali tried to pass off the comments as “trolling” racists and bigots in the online forum in order to track them, and draw them out by debating them. The Times Board said they saw no evidence of a plan to do this.
These revelations follow an incident at the first of two scheduled debates, reported by Breitbart News—at which Bray-Ali made a big deal over an alleged racist comment by an audience member, who told him to “go home to India.”
Bray-Ali, who is US-born, publicly called on incumbent Councilman Gil Cedillo to denounce the comment:
The candidate has other troubles. On Friday, the 38 year-old former business owner released a statement covered by the Los Angeles Daily News in response to the Internet comment revelations, emphasizing that he’s a “human being with flaws, like everyone” — and then making additional revelations about himself.
Bray-Ali admitted “not paying more than $48,000 in sales taxes and audit costs for his business Flying Pigeon-LA LLC,” and also admitted that he’d “slept with several other women from 2011 to 2014. Not my wife. For a time I even had a Tinder profile.”
Seven current City Council members are reportedly calling for him to pull out of the race, but Bray-Ali is defiant in his determination to see it through.
“I’ve just got to push,” he said to the Daily News by phone. “I have never had a political consultant come to my campaign and had anything to say other than that I have no chance … and that I’m an idiot … I have continued to show they are wrong.”