The Los Angeles Times, one of the nation’s most prominent newspapers, today has published an editorial likening West Hollywood Mayor John Duran’s excuse for his sexual behavior to similar excuses from Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.
“It should be clear by now that people can’t justify their inappropriate sexual behavior by claiming that they’re fond of locker-room talk or that they came of age in a bygone era with different mores,” the Times editorial says. “That’s just as true for the LGBTQ community as for any other.
“But apparently that message hasn’t reached West Hollywood Mayor John Duran.”
The editorial notes accusations of sexual misconduct by Duran involving young members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, whose board he chaired until abruptly stepping down yesterday. And it notes that the City of West Hollywood paid $500,000 in 2016 to settle a lawsuit by Duran’s former City Council deputy alleging sexual misconduct. Duran has denied all allegations of misconduct. Independent investigations have not found sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims, however an investigator did report that Duran made inappropriate sexual comments at City Hall.
Duran has said he will not resign as mayor, a move recommended by his four City Council colleagues, and will not resign from the Council, which fellow Councilmember Lindsey Horvath has requested. He has argued that he deserves “due process” before any such action is demanded. Duran also has defended what he describes as his boorish and sexual comments.
“Sure, not every boorish comment is sexual harassment, and not every unwanted advance is a sexual assault or a cause for termination,” states the Los Angeles Times editorial. “Duran is also right that an allegation is not the same as a guilty verdict. Still, it’s troubling that Duran — who should be a role model in his community — is unwilling to even acknowledge that crude comments and a proclivity for hitting on people could be problematic for a person in his powerful position. It should be obvious by now that hypersexual behavior is out of line in most professional settings — and it’s especially inappropriate for people in power, including elected officials, who have a responsibility to create a culture of respect.”
“There is cultural reckoning underway on sexual behavior, and there’s no LGBTQ exception,” states the Times editorial, citing reactions to behavior by Weinstein and Trump as examples.