Bronx Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., retweeted a bizarre Twitter post March 12 featuring a screenshot of a 2017 Daily Beast article with a highlighted sentence saying, “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors.”
Twitter user @TedZeplin originally posted the tweet. The article pictured in the tweet was about sexual assault allegations levied against actor John Travolta by a male masseur who sued him in US District Court in Los Angeles several years ago. The sentence, highlighted in yellow, was part of the lawsuit in which the masseur claimed Travolta said he “got to where he is now due to sexual favors he had performed when he was in his ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ days.” Travolta allegedly then made the comment about who controls Hollywood.
Diaz, who represents Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Clason Point, and Harding Park, has voiced anti-LGBTQ comments for decades — even as he continues to claim he is not homophobic. His retweet came roughly one month after his City Council colleagues stripped him of his Committee on For-Hire Vehicles in response to his comments that “most councilmembers” are “controlled by the homosexual community.” Earlier in the day on Tuesday, the councilmember referred to his February controversy when he tweeted, “Big difference between the treatment I got for what I said compared with the treatment given to Rep. Ilhan Omar. Humm!!!!!”
A spokesperson for Diaz did not respond to requests for comment regarding his retweet. The councilmember could not be reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon.
The retweet came amid yet another wave of public opinions by Diaz on social issues. On March 11, Diaz railed against political correctness in the latest edition of his longstanding “What You Should Know” email. He said in that note that anyone who criticizes abortion is labeled anti-women, anyone who opposes marriage equality is labeled a homophobe, and anyone who wears President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hat is deemed to be racist.
“Clearly my dear reader we are living in a very different America,” Diaz wrote. “Where instead of having an intelligent, respectful discourse, dissenting voices are branded with a despicable name, a “scarlet letter” and stripped of the inalienable rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution.”
During a 40-minute interview with Gay City News in the days before his colleagues took away his committee, Diaz doubled down on his comments about how LGBTQ folks control the city’s lawmaking body.
“What is wrong with what I said?” he asked on February 13. “That the gay community has power and control? Yes, they do! Because look at the way they’re doing it. If anyone’s being harassed, it’s me. Look at the way they write their tweets, with their nasty words, the foul language that they use. I didn’t do that.”
Diaz has refused to budge after many of his colleagues demanded his resignation following his anti-gay comments earlier this year. He said he plans to remain in office until voters in his district decide whether to re-elect him in the Democratic primary in June of 2021.