A New York City Council staffer has resigned after he allegedly berated a journalist with misogynistic slurs.
Councilman Chris Marte said Sunday that his aide Steven Wong would resign, after Marte initially stayed with his employee.
Marte, a Democrat from Manhattan, initially refused to fire Wong after the staffer left four voicemails with a reporter for the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily, according to a complaint filed with the City Council.
Wong allegedly called journalist Lotus Chau “c–t” and other offensive terms in Cantonese during the verbal attacks in February.
Last week, Marte said he would not fire Wong because he did not believe the translation of the outrageous voice memos was correct.
“Profanity is used in Cantonese slang that is unprofessional and inappropriate,” Marte said in a statement to the Daily News. “We did not find them as grounds for dismissal.”
He changed his tune on Sunday, saying he was initially aware of only one voicemail and only recently learned of three others. She said that they had not presented themselves to the general council of the Council.
“I don’t know what they contain or why they weren’t included,” said Marte. “When I immediately contacted Mr. Wong for more information, he said that he was sorry for his actions and is now offering his resignation, which I accepted.
“I hope this decision can bring healing to those who were hurt by his actions,” he added.
Wong had been on administrative leave since The News first reported her outbursts on February 23, a Mars spokeswoman said Sunday. She declined to say if she was paid during that time or not.
A local community board member disputed Marte’s claim that he knew nothing of all the voicemails.
“I think Mars is in damage control mode. It was reported that there were multiple voicemails, so how can three have been missed at the attorney general’s office, Karlin Chan of Manhattan Community Board 3 told The News. “I think Marte realized this was going to come back to bite him in this year’s election and asked Wong to step down.”
Susan Lee, a Manhattan lawyer who will challenge Mars in this summer’s primary election, also criticized the incumbent.
“Misogyny and bigotry have no place in civic affairs,” he said. “Marte and Wong owe Lotus Chau and his constituencies an apology for even thinking they could weather the storm. This was not a close decision. The responsibility stops with Mars.”