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Glendale council candidate accused of making 'misogynist and threatening' comments online

Candidate appears to be linked to derogatory comments on various websites.

March 07, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Council candidate Zarah Sinanyan listens to a question during a February 2013 debate.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Council candidate Zarah Sinanyan listens… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

A City Council candidate is losing prominent endorsements and is at risk of being stripped of his seat on a city commission amid allegations that he is the author of “racist, homophobic, misogynist and threatening” YouTube comments that bear his name.

Editor’s note: Readers may find the content displayed on some of the hyperlinks included in this story to be offensive.

The comments — which mostly center on Armenia’s geopolitical enemies by referring to them as “lazy,” “degenerate thieves,” “dirty” and more vulgar terms — were attributed to City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan through a tangled web of online profiles that allegedly lead back to the YouTube comments made under his name.

Sinanyan faces losing his commission seat after two City Council incumbents who are running for reelection — Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian — on Tuesday scheduled a council discussion on possibly stripping Sinanyan of his post on the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee next week.

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“I would not bring this up if it wasn't a very long series of posts around the Internet, on blog sites and on YouTube, that are extremely disturbing, that are racist, homophobic, misogynist, threatening and really beyond something that we as a city can afford to have associated with one of our commissioners,” Friedman said in proposing the motion.

Mayor Frank Quintero joined Najarian in supporting Friedman’s request to bring the item up for discussion.

Sinanyan has been the top fundraiser so far in the council race and had garnered a wide coalition of endorsements. But in the days since the allegations surfaced, three high-profile names — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Los Angeles mayoral run-off candidate Eric Garcetti and L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian — have withdrawn their support.

On Tuesday, Schiff sent a letter to Sinanyan’s campaign rescinding his endorsement, citing comments that he called “deeply disturbing and not befitting any member of the public, let alone one seeking to represent the city on an elected body.”

Schiff went on to write that while he hoped Sinanyan was not connected to the comments, he had to rescind his endorsement until the matter is resolved.

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