The West Hollywood City Council tonight unanimously passed a resolution censuring City Councilmember John Duran for his public comments in response to allegations of sexual misbehavior. During tonight’s meeting, Duran apologized for some of his behavior.
The Council moved the resolution to its consent agenda, which allowed it to pass the resolution along with nearly two dozen other resolutions without discussing the issue.
The censure resolution states that “Councilmember John Duran has made statements in response to allegations of inappropriate behavior that are contrary to the city’s policies and values. Specifically, Councilmember Duran has made statements:
“1. that suggest that there is a different standard of appropriate workplace behavior for gay men;
“2. that attempt to publicly shame his accusers;
“3. that include derogatory remarks about the ethnicity and physical appearance of his accusers; and
“4. that trivialize alleged misconduct with a former employee that resulted in a settlement between the City and former employee.”
The resolution refers to Duran’s responses in radio and other media interviews and on Facebook to allegations that he has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with young members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, where he served until recently as chair of the board of directors. Duran has denied those allegations, but he also has described West Hollywood as a “sex-based city” and stated that gay men shouldn’t be held to the same standards as heterosexual men when it comes to their sexual behavior. Duran has said in interviews that he has a more active sex life than his fellow Council members, saying that two of them have not had sex in 20 years and that one, who is married, thus didn’t have much of a sex life.
The resolution also refers to Duran’s statement in an interview with a friend who publishes a local blog in which he denied an allegation that he inappropriately touched a young Asian member of GMCLA. Duran implied that the fact that the young man was “a skinny Korean kid with pimples on his cheek” was evidence that Duran would not have slid his hand under the young man’s underwear.
Duran publicly apologized for what he described as his “anger issues.” He also apologized for making “derogatory and body shaming” comments, an apparent reference to his statement about the Asian man.
The censure resolution was drafted by City Attorney Mike Jenkins after a request by the Council at its March 4 meeting that initially was opposed by Jenkins and Councilmember John Heilman. Heilman cited the contentious atmosphere that would be created by the Council’s discussion of the resolution, which Duran had the right to contest. However at tonight’s meeting no members of the public spoke up on the issue. At previous Council meetings, members of the #MeToo movement and other activists showed up to demand that Duran resign from the Council after the allegations surfaced about his behavior with young GMCLA members. Duran gave up his role as mayor of West Hollywood but said he would not resign his Council position.
At its March 4 meeting, the City Council voted to deny Duran the right to travel on city business at city expense for one year, to deny him reimbursement for city-related expenses for one year and to remove him from a subcommittee appointed to oversee the city’s involvement with Christopher Street West, the non-profit that hosts the annual L.A. Pride event. It also asked the City Manager or someone under his purview to review Duran’s official emails and to sit in on any meetings Duran has with an employee at City Hall, an apparent response to allegations that Duran has made sexually inappropriate comments to city employees.