A new report alleges liberal Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti regularly observed his top aide’s sexual misconduct, which was an “open secret” in his office, that he didn’t put a stop to.
Officer Matthew Garza, a 23-year veteran of the LAPD who served on Garcetti’s security detail from 2014 to 2019, filed a lawsuit against the city on July 13. The court documents accused Rick Jacobs’, Garcetti’s longtime advisor, of regularly assaulting and harassing him.
The complaint also claims that L.A.’s mayor, who championed “MyVoiceLA” during the #MeToo era to help city employees report harassment, not only witnessed the inappropriate behavior, but “took no action to stop the comments from being made or even identify the comments as being inappropriate. On some occasions, the mayor would laugh at Jacobs’ crude comments.”
Garza’s suit accused Jacobs of making explicit comments about male genitalia and sex with younger men. On multiple occasions, he “forcefully” hugged Garza and asked him to sit on his lap.
After the lawsuit was filed, the mayor denied seeing Jacobs’ behavior. “The mayor has zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges,” a spokesman said.
But Garza’s lawsuit claims that the mayor’s staffers apologized for Jacobs’ behavior, which was an open secret amongst staff, “on more than a dozen occasions.”
Jacobs also denied the allegations. “This lawsuit is a work of pure fiction and is out of left field. Officer Garza and I worked together for many years without incident,” he claimed. “I will vigorously defend myself, my character, and my reputation.”
Garcetti seems to be backing Jacobs by not suspending him to perform an investigation, as is typically customary with workplace sexual misconduct.
“This is something that should take a process forward,” Garcetti said of allowing Jacobs to remain on the job. “But shouldn’t keep somebody who has been a committed public servant from being able to continue to serve our community and our world.”
Yashir Ali, the journalist who wrote the report, corroborated Garza’s account with his own experiences with Jacobs, alleging the aide would “forcibly kiss me on the lips when I encountered him through my previous work in politics.”
Ali’s story is based on three months’ worth of interviews with dozens of sources that refused to go on the record for fear of retribution. When he sent a text directly to Jacobs telling him to “be honest” and deal with the repercussions, Jacobs allegedly wrote back: “Nothing at all is true. Nothing. It’s fabricated.”
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