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Anti-Jewish Hecklers Disrupt California Legislative Call

The Laguna Beach City Council stopped their Tuesday night meeting after a group of people started spewing racial slurs, antisemitic language and homophobic remarks several times over a couple hours.

“On behalf of my City Council colleagues, I regret the distressing incident of ‘Zoom bombing’ that disrupted our meeting,” Mayor Sue Kempf said in a statement. “Our community’s dedication to civic engagement is commendable, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment.”

The first instance happened about 50 minutes into the meeting during a public comment section. Over the video chat, three speakers expressed antisemitic language. One person, who later started shouting racial slurs, started speaking about Black History Month before being interrupted by the council. 

After the final speaker, the mayor halted the public comment and moved on to the next item on the meeting’s agenda. The city council clarified that they did not stop public comment because of the hate speech but because it had fulfilled the time requirement of 30-45 minutes.

The council progressed through the meeting until they reached the second item on their agenda.  Then, a speaker continued the racial, antisemitic, and homophobic slurs during another public comment regarding an ad-hoc committee on a design project.

“As speakers continue to use profane and hateful language and make statements that we believe have no place in a civilized society,” City Attorney Megan Garibaldi said during the meeting. “We, at the same time, recognized that the Brown Act and the First Amendment have regulations that allow for free speech. This is frustrating for the council. This is frustrating for the community.”

Garibaldi added that the continuing hate speech was “embarrassing” for the council and suggested that anyone offended by the comments could leave the room or turn off their speakers.

“When this item is concluded we will make an announcement,” Garibaldi said. 

After letting the room clear, the speaker continued to spew hate speech. The council took a recess and stopped the meeting after the speaker’s time was up.

About 10 minutes later, multiple speakers continued the disturbing language until the council suspended the meeting and planned to continue it at a later date.