Disgraced Bronx Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., doubled down on his homophobic comments about LGBTQ members of the City Council and barreled forward with more insensitive tweets on Sunday, prompting many of his furious colleagues to call for his immediate resignation.
The elder Diaz remains deeply embroiled in controversy over his comments that the city’s lawmaking body “is controlled by the homosexual community,” adding to a decades-long list of disparaging statements he has made about LGBTQ folks.
In the wake of those comments, dozens of city lawmakers, queer folks, activists, and others sought an apology and/ or resignation from Diaz. But he returned to Twitter on Sunday to dismiss their requests.
“To all of you out there who are asking me to resign. Sorry to disappoint you but You should Know that the only ones that can ask me to resign are the residents of the 18th C. D. and that will be on Nov. 2021,” he wrote in his tweet. “That’s why we have election!!!!”
That combative attitude sparked further outrage among city councilmembers and advocates, whose calls for an apology soon turned into demands for his resignation. Speaker Corey Johnson acknowledged the growing calls for Diaz to step down and said he “feels their anger and pain.”
“We are currently reviewing all potential disciplinary scenarios,” Johnson said. “Nothing is off the table.”
SEE IT: Gay City News editor-in-chief Paul Schindler speaks to PIX11 News about Diaz’s comments
Still, Diaz couldn’t resist the urge to perpetuate more twisted homophobia. During his raging tweetstorm on Sunday, he also thanked a Twitter user, @TrueBlueTess, who said, “Gay Political Lobbying Organizations are Extremely WEALTHY & Extremely Powerful in influencing politicians” and “Only lobby for Gay issues & have disproportionate influence on politics and majority population lifestyle.”
In response, Diaz said, “Thank you TrueBlueTess. I rest my case......”
The councilmember shared the offensive post despite saying one day earlier that similar comments he made were some a sort of compliment.
“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,” he wrote on Saturday.
As this story is being posted, Diaz is sitting down with Gay City News for a face-to-face interview, which will be posted on February 12.
The fallout from Diaz’s comments also provided new momentum for his political opponents. Amanda Farias, who serves as the Democratic state committeewoman in the 87th Assembly district and unsuccessfully ran against Diaz in the 2017 Democratic primary for his current City Council seat, announced on Twitter on Monday that she is “taking the steps to hit the pavement hard again and run” again for the seat.
Farias was met with immediate support from some key political figures in the city, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Zephyr Teachout, a progressive leader who has run in recent Democratic primaries for governor, attorney general, and Congress.
Michael Beltzer, another candidate who lost to Diaz in the same race as Farias, also has a 2021 campaign account and is signaling a potential bid for the seat in 2021.
“Don’t just donate because you are upset, give money so I can continue to organize the communities Diaz has pulled his con-game on for far too long,” Belzer said in a tweet on Monday morning along with the hashtag #Beltzer2021.
In response to Diaz’s comments, advocates are planning to hold a rally at City Hall on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., according to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City and the LGBT and Progressive Caucuses of the Council. According to out gay Queens Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, the participants will demand Diaz’s resignation.