New York City council member Ruben Díaz Sr. is refusing to apologize for recent homophobic comments he made on a radio show.
Díaz Sr., a Democrat and former state senator, appeared on the Spanish language radio show El Desahogo. During the interview, he spoke of the City Council, which he joined in January 2018.
‘When I get to the City Council, I find that the City Council is controlled ― most council members out of 51 council members ― over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community,’ he said.
He specifically cited Corey Johnson as an example. In 2018, Johnson became the first openly gay man with HIV elected as the New York City Council speaker.
Johnson called for Díaz Sr. to apologize: ‘Council Member Díaz Sr.’s homophobic comments are offensive to both the Speaker and the body, and have no place in New York City. He should apologize to all of his colleagues, and the entire LGBTQ community.’
Johnson wasn’t the only one to call for his apology, however.
Díaz Sr.’s son, Ruben Díaz Jr., tweeted that his father’s words were ‘antagonistic, quarrelsome and wholly unnecessary’.
NYC is a place where we celebrate our diversity and inclusivity. The LGBTQ community is unequivocally an essential voice in our City. @revrubendiaz’s sentiments are antagonistic, quarrelsome and wholly unnecessary. He should apologize.
— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) February 9, 2019
Díaz Jr. is the Bronx borough president.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D) also tweeted, calling the comments ‘disgraceful and homophobic’.
The disgraceful and homophobic comments made by Ruben Diaz Sr. don’t reflect this city’s values. The council member owes an apology to @NYCSpeakerCoJo and 8.6 million New Yorkers. https://t.co/JSzZH1kv0T
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 9, 2019
Still no apology
Despite these demands, Díaz Sr. refuses to apologize. In fact, in a tweet he claimed he gave ‘credit’ to the LGBTI community for their ‘power and influence’.
What’s homophobic about saying that the gay community controls the nyc city council ? I’m giving them credit for the power and influence they have.
— Rev Ruben Diaz, Sr. (@revrubendiaz) February 9, 2019
In an interview with the NY Daily News, he called himself the ‘victim’ of this situation.
‘You see the list of elected officials that are calling on me to apologize. That shows how much power they have. I’m the victim here,’ he said.
Díaz Sr., 75, is an ordained minister of Puerto Rican descent. He is known for his socially conservative views. Throughout his career, he has been opposed to both same-sex marriage and aboriton.
In 2011, Díaz Sr. was the only Democrat of the New York state Senate to vote against marriage equality.