Los Angeles Council Candidate Joe Bray-Ali in hot water for comments about Mexicans

Joe Bray-Ali

Joe Bray-Ali is challenging Councilman Gil Cedillo in next month’s District 1 runoff election. 

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Los Angeles City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali, campaigning for a seat in a heavily Latino district, apologized Thursday for comments he made about Mexicans in a YouTube video posted online nearly a decade ago, but said the video was intended for the popular “Ask a Mexican” column in the OC Weekly.

Bray-Ali, who is challenging City Councilman Gil Cedillo for the Council District 1 seat, appeared in a video titled “Ask a Mexican — Mexican Doorbell” that is posted to his YouTube page.

In the video, Bray-Ali holds his young daughter and speaks directly to the camera.

“Dear Mexican, I’d like to know why all my neighbors think that the doorbell is a car horn. They wake up my baby,” Bray-Ali says.

The text beneath the video reads, “Why do some of my neighbors think that their car’s horn is a doorbell? The asians, whites, and other groups I live near don’t honk to tell their friends they have arrived. What is up with the Mexicans?”

Michael Atkins, campaign spokesman for Bray-Ali, told the Los Angeles Times that the video was intended to be a question for Gustavo Arellano’s “Ask a Mexican” column in the OC Weekly. Atkins’ statement was made after Bray-Ali released one of his own, in which he apologized for the video. Both statements failed to address why the question was being asked in the first place, but Atkins said he hadn’t gotten a full explanation from Bray-Ali about the video, according to the Times report.

Asked why Bray-Ali issued an apology for the video if it was supposed to directed toward Arellano, Atkins said the apology is intended for anyone offended by Bray-Ali’s comments.

Atkins also said that Cedillo was conducting a “smear campaign” by pointing reporters and the media in the direction of the video.

Bray-Ali’s ancestry is Indian, Hungarian and Irish. He’s married to a Mexican Chinese woman.

“Joe apologizes,” Atkins said of the video. “He says the comment was stupid and it’s amazing how social media can remind of the mistakes of youth. This was nine years ago.”

The video was sent to reporters by Cedillo on Wednesday after Bray-Ali called on the council member to denounce a racist comment made during a heated campaign debate Monday night in Westlake.

An audience member shouted out “Go back to India” to Bray-Ali, sparking outrage among his supporters.

“I was born here,” Bray-Ali said in response, first in English then repeating the phrase in Spanish. “I’m a child of Los Angeles.”

At least one audience member urged Cedillo to denounce the audience member’s comment. But Cedillo, who was seated at table next to Bray-Ali, stayed silent. Cedillo said in a statement released Wednesday that while he didn’t hear what was said, he denounces the “India” comment.

“I know from personal experience how hateful remarks can hurt. That is why I would like Mr. Bray-Ali to explain remarks he made on a YouTube video on March 9, 2008,” Cedillo said.

Information from the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.

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