Antioch Mayor Thorpe uses racist term to promote recall campaign fundraiser roast Friday calling proponents “Karens”

Promotion for Mayor Thorpe’s roast fundraiser for his recall campaign committee on Friday night Jan. 14, 2022, showing host committee members and roasters and name of committee using racist “Karen” term on the Eventbrite site.

“Lamar Thorpe is clearly lashing out with disrespectful and racist verbiage to distract voters from pointed examples of his failed leadership” – recall supporter Alicia Taylor

Other elected officials listed as roasters or on the host committee refuse to denounce rhetoric

“I find it infuriating he’s calling us all Karens and furthering the racial divide in our city.” –recall proponent David Amezcua

Fundraiser announcement showing State Treasurer Fiona Ma as one of the participants posted on one of Thorpe’s social media pages. Source: Arne Simonsen

By Allen Payton

In expectation of his recall qualifying for the ballot, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe is planning to raise funds by hosting a roast of himself Friday night, Jan. 14. On the fundraiser’s Eventbrite site the description refers to the proponents and supporters as “a small group of #Karens”. In addition, the name of Thorpe’s campaign committee is, “Stop the #KAREN Recall of Mayor Lamar Thorpe”.

According to Dictionary.com, “Karen is a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors. In 2020, Karen spread as a label used to call out white women who were captured in viral videos engaging in what are widely seen as racist acts.”

The invite posted in December reads: “As Mayor Thorpe’s first year draws to a close, a small group of #Karens–who didn’t support his bid for Mayor in the first place–are now trying to undo the will of the voters.

Are we surprised? Hardly. We sent Mayor Thorpe to City Hall in order to upset the status quo–and, boy, are they upset!

He’s made it crystal clear from day one–the days of a small group of special interests trying to manipulate City Hall were over the moment he was elected.

Together, we still have important work to do! We hope you’ll join us at Mayor Thorpe’s next fundraiser. This event promises to be a lot of laughs, and we look forward to seeing you there.”

According to the Eventbrite site, the list of those scheduled to roast Thorpe are State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Congressman Jerry McNerney, State Senator Steve Glazer, Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson and Contra Costa Community College Board District 4 Trustee Andy Li. In a promotion of the event on Thorpe’s official Facebook page, not his campaign page, he announced Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is part of the host committee. In another promotion of the event on Sunday, Thorpe announced Congressman John Garamendi, who is running for re-election to represent part of Antioch in the newly drawn 8th District, has joined the event’s host committee, as well.

Fundraiser announcement showing Congressmen DeSaulnier and McNerney as participants posted on one of Thorpe’s social media pages. Source: Arne Simonsen

“Unexpected call from former CA Lt. Governor and current Congressman John Garamendi earlier today,” the mayor wrote. “He recently learned about the #Karen recall effort in Antioch. He reached out to let me know that he’s standing with me to protect the progress Antioch has made in working to house our nieghbors [sic] without houses, police reform, building youth programs, launch our mental health crisis response team, and Chinese reconciliation efforts.”

“He’s now part of the host committee and will be in attendance Friday. Help me put this noise behind us by making a donation today,” Thorpe added.

Proponents Say Thorpe is Race-Baiting

The use of the racist term used by Thorpe in the name of his committee, as well as what he’s claiming are the reasons why they’re recalling him is what has some proponents and other Antioch residents supporting the effort upset at him and those supporting him as roasters and event hosts. The 20 proponents who signed Thorpe’s recall notice include women and men who are White, Hispanic and Black.

“It is despicable that Thorpe and his followers are calling those leading the recall ‘Karens’,” said Arne Simonsen, one of the recall organizers. “

Asked if he thinks Thorpe is race-baiting by using that term, Simonsen responded, “Yes, he is. And the overwhelming number of proponents for his recall are registered Democrats!”

When reached for comment and asked if she is Hispanic, recall organizer Kathy Cabrera responded, “My hubby (one of the recall proponents) is, which means my children are and I am highly offended by his calling us Karens. My family is a melting pot. I’m white, Husband Latino, Children Latino, Foster son I raised is black And I have a transgender child. I am sooooo not racist.

It’s my belief that Thorpe thinks this recall is being run by Republican “Karens” and I want to set the record straight – in fact the proponents are a group of Bi-Partisan individuals – some of which who even voted for Thorpe but have been disappointed in his actions this first year in office.

Regarding Garamendi’s participation, Cabrera wrote, “I wonder if he is aware that Thorpe is deeming this event as ‘The Stop the Karen’s recall’ event? Basically, that he is calling his constituents ‘Karen’s’ which is offensive. Because us ‘Karens ’ are also HIS constituents, and we will remember this when it comes time to vote.”

Promotion for Mayor Thorpe’s roast fundraiser for his recall campaign committee on Friday night Jan. 14, 2022, showing host committee members and roasters and the name of his campaign committee (encircled in red) using the racist “Karen” term.

“One of the Thorpe Recall Proponents reached out to Mark DeSaulnier and stated that Mark DeSaulnier endorsed his original candidacy, he is not supporting this current climate nor is he aware that his picture or likeness is being utilized in this manner,” Cabrera continued. “Fiona Ma and Jerry McNerney are the same.”

“Many of us have been calling and emailing them all morning. Now, let’s see if these politicians still back him,” she added.

Another supporter of Thorpe’s recall, Julia Gonzalez, shared her thoughts writing, “I am also part of the Recall Thorpe group. I am also offended by the mayor calling us ‘KARENS’.”

Fundraiser announcement showing Congressmen DeSaulnier and McNerney as participants. Source: Thorpe’s official Facebook page.

“I am first-generation Hispanic, my ex-husband is from Mexico. My four children are first- and second- generation Hispanic and I’m also a proud mother and grandmother of a past and currently present U.S. Navy Servicemen,” she continued. “Lamar Thorpe is not Hispanic, just raised by a foster family that were. Anyone can learn the language. He’s a disrespectful Navy veteran that won’t even salute the flag at any event especially at the Veterans Memorial which there is a picture of this for proof.”

“When has it been tolerated to call citizens names like ‘Karens’ or heckling people in public?” Gonzalez asked. “He’s an embarrassment to our city, to our citizens and especially to all our servicemen, veterans and our country. I SUPPORT RECALL LAMAR THORPE 2022.”

Recall proponent, Velma Wilson wrote, “In response to the Mayor calling the proponents who signed the Recall against him ‘Karens’ I find it rather offensive and outright disrespectful. Myself and my husband are appalled by some of the behavior this mayor has displayed.”

“As African American residents we have raised our children to not only serve the community but to respect those in authority,” she continued. “It’s amazing as we prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. how his message of hope, peace, love and unity have been glossed over. Dr. King died trying to unify not divide. I say to Mayor Thorpe, you have failed the people of Antioch because of your lack of wisdom to support unifying the community.”

Fundraiser announcement showing State Senator Steve Glazer as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

“I am not and never will be a ‘Karen’. I serve this community with my time and talent and yes, I am not afraid to speak on what is right,” Wilson shared. “Dr. King, once said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ Lamar could start right now by doing a small part to treat people with dignity, courtesy and respect and stop spreading hatred and bigotry.”

“I am a first generation Mexican-American male that was born in Oakland and raised in Richmond and am one of the 20 proponents of the mayoral recall attempt,” David Amezcua wrote in response. “I find it infuriating he’s calling us all Karens and furthering the racial divide in our city.  It’s just a way to deflect from the real issues and try to discredit those of us that want him removed.”

Another resident, Alicia Taylor, shared her frustrations with the mayor and calling out his racism, and sharing photos of her African-American grandparents in a post on the Recall Lamar Thorpe Facebook page, writing, “I voted for the wrong man. I thought Lamar Thorpe understood our city and state. We are a melting pot of many ethnicities. We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. I was wrong about him, and I feel like a victim of false advertising.”

Fundraiser announcement showing Community College Board District 4 Trustee (no longer president as of Dec. 8) as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

“Lamar Thorpe is clearly lashing out with disrespectful and racist verbiage to distract voters from pointed examples of his failed leadership,” she continued. “Lamar Thorpe, you DO NOT know the constituents of Antioch. It is disappointing to see your disrespectful, self-serving agenda, and racist behavior produced by you, on social media. I hope everyone remembers your authentic smile displayed here when I’m out with the RECALL petitions.”

“Never assume, Lamar Thorpe,” Taylor wrote. “Effie Crenchaw Lee (only gma I knew) attended and worked for Dunbar High School in Little Rock, AR. She had to pay poll tax but couldn’t vote. She was a woman and a negro. Additionally, her cousin went on to represent a big part of black history.”

“Horace James Lee, (only gpa I knew) was one of twelve born on a farm in Edison, GA,” she continued. “On his way to fulfill his military orders from NY to Monterey, CA, he was denied rest / shelter because he was black, and with a white woman. Additionally, his aunt went on to represent black history, too.”

“You are attempting to divide MY FAMILY and MY NEIGHBORS with the old racist black and white show. DENIED. You can disagree with someone without being disrespectful. That’s a leadership quality you have forgotten sir. Do better,” Taylor added.

Questions for Thorpe, Host Committee Members, Roasters

Fundraiser announcement showing Antioch District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson as a participant posted on Thorpe’s TikTok account on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Questions were sent via email Tuesday afternoon to Thorpe and each of the roasters and members of the host committee or their representatives asking if they are aware of the racist connotation of the term “Karen”. In addition, they were provided with a copy of Thorpe’s recall notice which lists the 20 proponents and reasons for his recall, asking, “are you claiming the proponents and other supporters of your recall are racists and trying to remove you from office because you’re Black? Are you not aware that the list of 20 proponents on your recall notice includes women and men who are White, Hispanic and Black, and some voted for you in 2020, some are Democrats who no doubt voted for some of those on the host committee and/or are roasters? Do you really believe all those Antioch community leaders and residents are racists and oppose you because of your ethnicity or skin color?” (See related article)

The reasons given for the recall, listed in the notice and on the petitions currently circulating for signature gathering, which mention nothing about Thorpe’s ethnicity nor skin color, are as follows:

“Disrespect for Council Members and the Public who disagree with you during City Council meetings. Blocking constituents and not allowing them to comment on your social media. You have failed to provide full support to the great men and women of the Antioch Police which is impeding their ability to keep our residents safe. As a result of your failed leadership it has led to the resignation of Police Chief Tammany Brooks who will be taking up a new post in Boise, Idaho; and the announced retirement of City Manager Ron Bernal. You put on the Council agenda to rescind the School Resource Officer Grant without any public input from the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board or Administration after the Officers had been interviewed and selected. You misled the Public about when you were informed about the death of Angelo Quintos, when you had earlier received an email from Chief Brooks. You blamed business owners on Sycamore Drive for the crimes that are being committed by others that live nearby which does not reflect Antioch’s theme: ‘Opportunity Lives Here’.”

Finally, the other elected officials participating in the event were asked, “do you agree with Lamar calling the supporters of his recall racists, and think it’s appropriate or funny to support his fundraiser with that in the description?”

Garamendi Unaware of Use of “Karen” Term

Garamendi’s chief of staff, Bradley Bottoms responded, saying, “the congressman was asked to help Lamar which he agreed to do. But he wasn’t aware” of the use of the term “Karen” in Thorpe’s campaign committee name or promotion for the fundraiser. “It’s not his intention to offend anyone.”

Additional attempts to reach Garamendi or Bottoms, including a call and text on Thursday afternoon, for further comment were unsuccessful.

DeSaulnier Continues Support for Thorpe, Falsely Claim He Won by “Substantial Majority” in 2020

DeSaulnier responded with a statement that reads, “It’s clear to me that many recall campaigns are now being used as political weapons to undermine the will of the voters in free and fair elections. I support Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who was elected by a substantial majority in 2020 to represent the city and people of Antioch.  The recall effort against him in a non-election year is a total waste of taxpayer money.”

However, Thorpe received less than a majority of the vote with 44.44% in the November 2020 election according to the Contra Costa Elections Division of the county clerk’s office.

Pressed further, asking the congressman what he had to say about Thorpe’s use of the racist term “Karen” to describe his recall proponents and supporters, DeSaulnier did not respond.

Thorpe posted a video on his Instagram account about a woman being called a “Karen” on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Source: Kathy Cabrera

Thorpe Doubles and Triples Down

Thorpe posted a video on his Instagram account about “Karens” on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Source: Kathy Cabrera

Thorpe responded to the emailed questions writing, “The host committee is hosting the Roast of Mayor Lamar Thorpe. I’m characterizing the recall effort as a #karen recall because that’s exactly what it is.”

A follow up question was sent to the mayor, “So, just to clarify, you are calling the recall proponents and supporters racists and you believe they’re working to recall you because you’re Black?” But he did not respond.

Then on Tuesday, Jan. 11, Thorpe continued with his racist rhetoric by posting on his Instagram account a video of him laughing at a woman being called a “Karen”.

The event will be held at La Plazuela Restaurant in Antioch from 7:00-9:00 PM. Ticket prices are listed as $50 – #LOL, $100 – #bellylaugh, $250 – #one-liner and $400 – #heckler. As of Thursday evening the roast’s Eventbrite site shows it is sold out.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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the attachments to this post:


Thorpe roast fundraiser promo 011422 host committee – Karen name in red circle


About Thorpe’s roast


Thorpe recall fundraiser – Monica Wilson TikTok


Thorpe recall fundraiser – Andy Li TikTok


Thorpe recall fundraiser Glazer – TikTok


Thorpe Instagram Karens 011122 B


Thorpe Instagram Karens 011122 A


Thorpe recall fundraiser – Garamendi FB 010922


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