San Francisco city council candidate apologises for calling Jewish journalist a Nazi

There are calls for Leanna Louie to quit the race for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors


A candidate for the city government of San Francisco has apologised after mocking the name of a Jewish journalist, using the word “Nazi”. 

Leanna Louie – a candidate for District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – had referred to Joe Eskenazi, the managing editor of local news site Mission Local, as “EskeNAZI”, triggering outrage. 

In a Facebook post on Tuesday night, Louie reportedly apologised for the post, and in a post on Thursday, she repeated the apology, although continued to dispute the accuracy of his reporting. 

In the offending post, Louie compared her experience being interviewed by local radio station KQED with previous conversations with Eskenazi. 

Louie is facing questions from journalists and city electoral officials over whether is resident in the disctrict where she is standing for election, and whether she voted in that district illegally. Elections Department director John Arntz has referred her to the District Attorney for alleged voter fraud. 

In the post, Louie wrote: “It was so nice to talk to a journalist who actually had a dialogue with me. Unlike Joe EskenNAZI who called me and talked over me and didn’t even write any of my responses.”

She then used the capitalisation a second time when she went on to claim that Eskenazi had “called his friends and members” of Weather Underground, which is a defunct militant group formed in 1969, in order to “validate his points”. 

The post triggered outrage and condemnation from across the city, some of whom called on her to withdraw from the race. 

San Francisco Examiner reporter Gil Duran wrote on Twitter: “How toxic are San Francisco politics? Time to end the campaign, Leanna.” 

Aaron Peskin, supervisor for District 3, told Mission Local that Louie’s comments are “the musings of a crazy person who is not fit to take public office.” 

He added that he had “never seen this kind of racist, antisemitic behaviour from anybody in, or running for, public office in San Francisco, in the quarter of a century I have been involved in local politics.” 

Incumbent District 4 supervisor Gordon Mar said that Louie’s “shocking antisemitic and hateful comments are absolutely unacceptable. She should immediately apologize to Joe Eskenazi and to the elections experts for her absurd and inflammatory remarks.” 

District Attorney candidate John Hamasaki tweeted: “Hate has no place in San Francisco. No matter whether it is anti-Semitic, anti-Black, or anti-Asian, it is tearing our city apart. 

“I condemn this hate speech in the strongest terms and call on Leanna Louie to withdraw from the race for supervisor.” 

California State Senator Scott Weiner said that it was “deeply harmful to use the word ‘Nazi’ to refer to anyone who isn’t an actual Nazi, particularly when directed at a Jew.” 

He added: “The actual Nazis killed 6 million Jews & millions others. Their lives are devalued by this kind of rhetoric.” 

In her apology post, Louie stated that she was expressing “frustration with Joe’s barrage of news articles in a highly insensitive, inappropriate and uncharacteristic manner.” 

She went on to say that the “formatting of his surname was in poor taste and I want to sincerely apologize to Joe Eskenazi, his family, and the Jewish community.”

However, she continued her attacks on Eskenazi’s journalism in Facebook and Twitter posts on Wednesday following a TV interview, writing: “Thank You KTVU2 and Amber Lee for fair reporting and the chance to extend a hand of friendship and apology to Joe Eskenazi.  I appreciate the opportunity to explain why I will be on the November 2022 Ballot. 

“I issued an apology for my Facebook post directing frustration at Joe Eskenazi for writing half truths about me and requested to meet with him in person, but he declined. I offered to provide a timeline of my residency and evidence, but he did not accept any of the evidence? Why is Joe Ezkenazi avoiding to report on the whole truth?” 

Eskenazi himself said: “I am used to stuff like this, ever since grade school, when they teach non-Jews what the Holocaust is.” 

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