Keith London, the mayor of Hallandale Beach, Florida, has apologized for a bizarre comment he made during a city commission budget hearing on August 13, but the target of the comment, Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub, is not accepting the apology, according to a story in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, because she thinks he tried to make nice only “because the story is getting out.”
So what’s the story? At a public budget meeting for the Miami suburb of about 37,000 population, London went on a digression from his seat on the dais to claim that Lima-Taub bleaches her anus — and makes money from doing so, according to a report by The Miami Herald. London made the remark to Lima-Taub, a former political ally, after the commissioner defended a local firefighter who was called “simple minded” by the mayor.
“Was it getting my sphincter bleached, is that what I earned my income for?” London said to Lima-Taub. “No that would be you.”
London later added, “sphincter bleaching is a very up and coming business.”
Lima-Taub responded by calling London “a sick man,” according to a WFOR TV News report, and later said that she saw the mayor’s public statement as a moment in the Me Too movement to stop sexual harassment.
While Lima-Taub’s mother is the owner of a spa business that sells a certain type of creams meant to “bleach” skin, the city commissioner is not employed at the business and makes her living instead as a real estate agent. But even if she were involved with the business, she said it makes no difference.
“For a mayor to speak about bleaching, it is completely inappropriate. It speaks volumes about the sexual harassment in this city,” she said later. “Even if I was doing that for a living, that’s not appropriate. For the sitting leader of a city to speak this way was completely inappropriate.”
In an email to The Sun-Sentinel, London later attempted to walk back his remark.
“I said something stupid, personal and inappropriate in a moment of anger. My conduct was entirely inappropriate, and there is no excuse for it,” he wrote, as quoted by the paper.
London was not elected mayor of Hallandale, but instead was appointed in January after previous Mayor Joy Cooper was arrested and charged with money laundering after, the FBI says, she took illegal campaign donations from Russians, according to the Miami Herald story.
London has made inappropriate public comments previously, once referring to another city commissioner as “a migrant worker” and asking a city employee if he had “sucked d***” while in prison, according to the Herald report.