Protesters call for West Hollywood mayor to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Protesters gathered outside the West Hollywood City Council Chambers Tuesday, demanding Mayor John Duran resign.

"Male survivors matter here," the crowd chanted.

Duran faces pressure from the community after being accused of inappropriate touching and comments involving three current and former members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. Duran also serves as the board chair.

The accusers spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the sexual misconduct.

Duran issued a statement regarding the accusations.

"I flirt. I crack dirty jokes. I often say things that make some cringe, but I do not threaten or physically assault anyone. Not ever. It is not in my DNA. I will own my human flaws for being and saying inappropriate things. But I will never admit conduct that never occurred," the statement said.

Duran, who is in the hospital, added he is dealing with blood clots in his legs while his council colleagues call on him to give up his title.

"Given John's current health issues as well as the controversy I think it is important for us to move forward with somebody else in charge," Councilman John Heilman said.

During the meeting, a friend read a statement from Duran, which drew anger as he spoke past the allotted time for comment.

"Sexual harassment is a serious issue and every accusation must be received and taken seriously. It's time for less heat and a little more light," the man said as people yelled for him to stop.

Duran, a longtime booster for West Hollywood, introduced Stormy Daniels when the city declared a day in her honor. But many people said his contributions are no excuse for what he's accused of doing.

Dennis Gleason, a policy director for L.A. Councilman Joe Busciano, alleges that he was subjected to unwanted comments from Duran after meeting him on a dating app and disclosing where he worked.

"Even though I let him know that I was not interested, he continued to say inappropriate things to me and request various sex acts from me," Busciano said.

Protesters also said they're not happy about Duran's continued support of Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic donor. In less than a year and a half, two men - Timothy Dean and Gemmel Moore - died in Buck's apartment. Moore overdosed in 2017 and Buck was never charged.

A city spokesperson said the council cannot remove Duran from his position, but members did ask staff to look into other options.
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