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West Hollywood mayor gives up title ‘for health reasons’ after sex misconduct claims

Nick Duffy March 6, 2019
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West Hollywood mayor John Duran speaks at a campaign fundraiser event for U.S. President Barack Obama on September 26, 2011 in West Hollywood, California.

West Hollywood mayor John Duran speaks at a campaign fundraiser event for U.S. President Barack Obama on September 26, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty)

The Mayor of West Hollywood John Duran has said he will give up the title for “health reasons” in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

Duran, who is serving his fourth year as the mayor of the famous Los Angeles gay district, announced on Monday (March) 4 that he would cede the role on Facebook.

Duran said: “I am handing the Mayor’s gavel to my friend John D’Amico as the Mayor Pro Tem to fill the remaining two months of my Mayor’s term.

“I am not resigning from council and will complete this term which expires in November of 2020.

“My sobriety and God come first. My health comes next. And then my love of family and dear friends.”

West Hollywood mayor John Duran gives up title after sexual misconduct claims

The abrupt announcement comes after Duran faced allegations of sexual misconduct from members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, but the city lawmaker cited health reasons for his decision.

West Hollywood mayor John Duran
West Hollywood mayor John Duran (Michael Buckner/Getty)

Duran said he had been hospitalised for a week with blood clots, adding: “I will be back as feisty as ever very soon.”

The city lawmaker, who has served on the city council since 2001, resigned as as board chairman of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles in February after facing accusations of sexual harassment from members of the group.

One current and one former member of the group both alleged they had faced unwanted sexual touching from Duran, while a third man alleged that Duran made inappropriate comments towards him.

John Duran hit out at ‘false’ sexual misconduct allegations

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times on February 5, Duran said he already planned to leave the group, but accelerated his departure due to the “toxic” climate spurred by “false allegations.”

In a subsequent interview with the WeHo Times blog, Duran suggested he would not have been sexually attracted to one of his accusers because he is “a skinny Korean kid with pimples on his cheek,” leading to further accusations of racism.

In a public statement, he wrote: “I flirt. I crack dirty jokes. I often say things that make some cringe. But I do not threaten or physically assault anyone. Not ever. It is not in my DNA.

“I will own my human flaws for being and saying inappropriate things. But I will never admit conduct that never occurred. That would be dishonest and done for expediency rather than truth.

“Unfortunately, people are now piling on a false narrative that is untrue, misunderstood, and driven by the current mood of the country rather than the rule of law and due process.”

A male former city council aide to Duran was paid a $500,000 out-of-court settlement by the city of West Hollywood in 2016 after allegations of sexual harassment. Duran did not admit any wrongdoing.

More: US

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