California State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), a leader of the “#MeToo” movement who has faced sexual harassment accusations herself, reportedly apologized Monday for a homophobic comment she made five years ago about then-Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.
“I did make that remark in a moment of anger,” Garcia told Bay Area public radio station KQED about calling Pérez, who is gay, a “homo.”
Garcia reportedly said, “I have no reason to lie about something that is true. However, in no way was my use of that term meant to belittle Mr. Perez for his sexuality.” She added, “I realize that words can be harmful and I humbly and sincerely apologize to Mr. Perez and any member of the LGBTQ community who feels offended by the comment.”
Garcia also described to KQED the public scrutiny she received over her remark as “a good learning experience.”
The female lawmaker is currently under investigation for making unwanted sexual advances towards two men who worked in Sacramento politics. She has also been accused of drinking alcohol in her office and having discussions about sex in her office.
She took an unpaid leave of absence in February after allegations surfaced that she had groped a former male legislative staffer in 2014 and that she had attempted to sleep with a lobbyist. Garcia denies these claims.
Another report alleged that Garcia slept with fellow lawmakers in order to pry information out of them, and that she allegedly urged fellow lawmakers to play “spin the bottle” after a political fundraiser.
Garcia once told the New York Times that she was a victim of sexual harassment by men in the Golden State’s capitol. “Multiple people have grabbed my butt and grabbed my breasts . . . We’re talking about senior lobbyists and lawmakers,” Garcia reportedly said.