April 27, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A city council candidate is under fire for racist and misogynistic social media posts he made as a teenager.
Juan Ardila, who is challenging incumbent city council member Robert Holden in District 30, has apologized after the New York Post published a story Sunday reporting on the posts. The posts all appear to be from 2009 to 2011, when the now 27-year-old was a high school student.
Among the posts published are an anti-Asian slur used against Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, as well as derogatory comments against gay people, women and Jews. Ardila also reportedly used the N-word. The NY Post published screen shots of some of the now-deleted posts.
Holden, who is seeking a second term representing the district comprised of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the posts from Ardila.
“There is no place anywhere in the Democratic Party, on the New York City Council or in the City of New York for the kind of racist, homophobic, misogynistic language that Mr. Ardila has publicly posted on social media,” said Holden.
A spokesperson for Ardila issued a statement in response to the criticism—and argued that Holden was using the controversy to distract from his own record.
“Juan regrets making hurtful comments when he was a kid, but the reality is that Bob Holden has used his platform as an elected official to hurt and disenfranchise vulnerable New Yorkers for years,” Ardila’s spokesperson said.
Assembly member Catherine Nolan and former assembly member Mike Miller joined Holden in condemning Ardila’s posts.
“The hate-filled social media posts written by Mr. Ardila which have recently come to light are deeply troubling, and are a sufficient cause to reject Juan Ardila as an appropriate candidate for elected office,” Nolan said.
“The racist statements which have been made by Ardila in this race are disqualifying – our communities need mature leaders who will fight for our neighborhood’s share of city services, and support our communities,” Miller added.
Ardila has garnered the endorsements of a number of elected officials in the borough, including Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, city council member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senators Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris, plus organizations like the Working Families Party.
Holden has called on all of the officials and organizations to retract their endorsements.