Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. Refuses to Apologize For Controversial Comments - NBC New York

Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. Refuses to Apologize For Controversial Comments

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr Faces Calls to Resign

    City councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. is facing calls to resign after he made comments being considered anti-gay, saying City Hall was "controlled by the homosexual community." Ida Siegal reports.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 11, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Democratic Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. is refusing to apologize to the gay community for what many are calling anti-gay statements

    • During a Spanish language radio interview, Diaz said City Hall was “controlled by the homosexual community"

    • The city council’s LGBT caucus called for him to resign and his own son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, tweeted for him to apologize

    Democratic Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. is refusing to apologize to the gay community for what many are calling anti-gay statements.

    On Monday, Diaz met with constituents at his South Bronx office, as he normally would. He wore the same cowboy hat he is known for and took phone calls. What he did not do was say he’s sorry for comments made in an interview on a Spanish language radio show.

    While some are asking for an apology and resignation, including his own son, Diaz is not budging, saying he “didn’t do anything wrong.”

    However, many New York Democrats disagree.

    During the aforementioned radio interview, Diaz said City Hall was “controlled by the homosexual community.”

    Not long after, the city council’s LGBT caucus called for him to resign and his own son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., tweeted for him to apologize calling the statements “wholly unnecessary.” The mayor and governor both condemned his remarks.

    When asked if he regretted having said those comments, Diaz said: “No. That’s the truth.”

    LGBT leaders say this comment is minor compared to his history of anti-gay statements, including vocal opposition to issues like same-sex marriage.

    “The hatred that he spews would not be tolerated by any other community. I think it’s insulting that he’s been tolerated for so long,” Allen Roskoff, of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, said.

    Meanwhile, Diaz says he has been shunned by powerful Democrats at City Hall because of his religious beliefs, saying he is not homophobic.

    “I hired a gay person that lives with another man, Christopher King, I hired to be my lawyer in my committee,” he said. “Is that homophobic?”

    City council speaker Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, initially refrained from calling for Diaz's resignation, on Monday afternoon, Johnson said he thinks he should resign.

    "I think he should resign," Johnson said. "It's not up to me but I think what he said is totally unacceptable and him doubling down on those comments and saying he's the victim clearly shows how out of touche he is."

    Roscoff shares similar sentiments calling for Diaz to be rebuked and removed.

    “I would like to see the Bronx condemn him. Rebuke him. Remove him from any caucus or whatever that he sits on,” Roscoff said.

    Diaz, meanwhile, believes he is being unjustly prosecuted.

    "My rights have been violated," he said. "I’m the one that’s being harassed.”

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