New York City councilman Andy King has been fined $15,000 and suspended for 30 days without pay after he compared Pride to child pornography and harassed his staff with homophobic remarks.
Andy King was subject to disciplinary proceedings for several years of alleged misconduct, which included the use of public funds to finance a trip to the Virgin Islands. He also retaliated against staffers who cooperated with government investigations against him.
A 48-page ethics report released by New York City Council’s Committee on Tuesday, October 29, substantiated the charges against him. It details a particularly damning incident in 2015 when King confronted his staff for posting a photo of a Pride parade on his Twitter account.
King was visibly angry and demanded to know who had tweeted it, saying: “I don’t approve of this behaviour… To me, this is the same as child pornography.”
Several council members called for King’s resignation, including out gay Queens council member Jimmy Van Bramer who said: “For me, there is no doubt in my mind that given that this is not a first offence and given the severity of everything included in this report, I believe expulsion is warranted.”
Andy King receives strict punishment.
Although the vote to expel King vote failed by a 34-12 margin, the City Council agreed to the strict penalties recommended in the report by an overwhelming vote of 44 to 1.
As well as the fine and suspension he was ordered to undergo sensitivity training, be removed from all committee assignments and be subject to an ethics monitor in his office for the remainder of his term. The staffers he wrongfully terminated will be given back their jobs.
“No council member in the history of the modern body has ever seen a sanction like this,” said New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson.
King, who has previously been sanctioned for sexually harassing a member of his staff, disputed the charges against him and would not apologise for them.
Speaking ahead of the vote, he complained about the disciplinary process and claimed he hadn’t been given an adequate chance to make a case for himself. He reportedly boasted of the goodwill he says he enjoys with his staff and others.