MODESTO, Calif. — After insisting that his anti-LGBTQ attack ad was not “an attack on [LGBTQ] rights,” embattled Modesto City Councilmember and California Senate District 5 candidate Mani Grewal quietly removed the video from his Facebook and YouTube pages on Friday — in an apparent acknowledgment that the ad was false, misleading and offensive. The move followed public rebukes of his homophobic smear campaign by statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization Equality California and Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Chair Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), as well as an article in the Stockton Record highlighting the fact that Grewal was repeating debunked claims from a right-wing misinformation website.
On Monday, California Democratic Party LGBT Caucus Co-Chairs Tiffany Woods and Lester Aponte called Grewal’s actions “shameful” and “a divisive smear campaign to mislead voters and score cheap political points.”
Monday evening, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur responded to the letter that Grewal had sent to the Capitol Morning Report. Zbur demanded that Grewal “formally retract the contents of [his] offensive ad and false statements about the bill; apologize to Senator Wiener, Assemblymember Eggman and the LGBTQ community; and endorse SB 145.”
“Unfortunately, your purported commitment ‘to stand up for the LGBTQ community’ rings hollow as long as you continue to engage in these homophobic campaign tactics,” wrote Zbur. “Knowingly spreading misinformation about an LGBTQ civil rights bill supported by law enforcement, sexual assault survivors and LGBTQ Californians is not how you ‘stand up for the LGBTQ community.'”
Equality California and the California Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus have asked Grewal’s endorsers to withdraw their support for his campaign in light of his homophobic smear campaign and will seek a formal censure of Grewal by the Party in the coming days.
As Grewal’s explanation for the anti-LGBTQ ad and misinformation campaign changes by the day, the only thing that remains consistent is his willingness to say anything to get elected.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org