Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Silver Lake Council Member: 'All Illegals Should Have To Work Like Slaves'

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

A Silver Lake Neighborhood Council woman resigned from her position on Thursday after posting racist and offensive Facebook comments about Mexicans and illegal immigration.

Karen Speitel, who also runs a pilates studio in Silver Lake, received an onslaught of backlash from the community after she used her personal Facebook account to comment on an article NBC Los Angeles posted on its Facebook page, the Eastsider reports. The story was about tunnels under the U.S-Mexico used for illegal border crossing. Speitel had something to say about that:

All illegals should have to work like slaves for free for every single citizen who came here the right way! Shame on the sneaky, lawless dregs who have no respect for the law and how hard real citizens have had to work to become legal.

CBS Los Angeles reports that Speitel also wrote this: "I've been in LA a loooong [sic] time and the distruction [sic] I see all over is from Mexicans. All other immigrants make pockets of this city nice. Go to Chinatown. It's clean and fun."

Support for LAist comes from

Other commenters took notice of her choice words, did a background search on her and discovered that Speitel served on the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council board as a co-chair in the community liaison committee. One commenter screenshot her photo from the board's website with contact info for the board, and wrote on Facebook: "Let's show Karen Speitel what happens when stupid , trashy Mexicans ... report her to an ethics board and have her removed ! No one who harbors this much hate towards a race should be involved with a public office [sic]"

After the neighborhood council received angry emails from local residents about Speitel, some members asked for her to resign in a meeting on Wednesday. At first, she refused to resign because she said she didn't want people to think she was racist just because of these comments, but later stepped down from her post on Thursday.

She send CBS Los Angeles a letter, apologizing for her "egregious remarks" she made that are "now being deemed as racially insensitive." Speitel added:

I was asked by many members of the council to resign. And the reason I didn’t until last night after the meeting was because I didn’t feel it was right to assume I was racist from my comments instead of realizing who I really am by my actions in my community. And I didn’t feel it was right to ask me to leave the board when the comments I made, even though I am very sorry for them, were through my own personal social media account that had nothing to do with the council.

Board member Seamus Garrity had something different to say about that. He told the Eastsider:

I was shocked that a member of the community, a member of this board, would denigrate a race of people in this way. While a person has free speech, I think that you have to call into question their judgment when they are going to be voting on things that affect the community at large, and they have a skewed opinion of a large percentage of that community. I am shocked that person is even here.

Most Read