HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — A heated exchange turned bizarre Monday night at the Hallandale Beach City Commission’s budget discussion when Mayor Keith London accused a female commissioner of earning her income through anal bleaching. Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub, the woman he was attacking, called the incident a #MeToo moment.
The lewd remarks, which seemed to come out of nowhere, came amid a heated discussion after the mayor insulted a veteran firefighter.
While discussing funding to hire more firefighters, London called firefighter Jim Bunce, who the Miami Herald says is a 30-year veteran and president of the local union, a “simple mind.” Lima-Taub was “shocked” to hear this, she told Patch. Having been a paramedic, she fired back at London.
“He has a college education, you don’t, so I don’t really know how you can call him simple,” she said to London, and didn’t deny it was a personal attack, the Herald reported. She followed up by accusing London of not working for a living.
“See where my earned income came from last year? I’m sure you do. Was it getting my sphincter bleached?… No, that would be you and your family business,” he replied.
“I was taken aback,” Lima-Taub told Patch. “Knowing his inappropriate sexual advances and comments in the past, I thought he was talking about his own sphincter bearing bleached. It took me a few seconds to really register. When he continued talking to me about me doing anal bleaching for a living, I was humiliated. It then turned to anger.”
Nobody on the commission, except for Lima-Taub, condemned London’s statements at the time.
Mayor London did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lima-Taub’s mother owns a spa which sells skin bleaching products, the Herald reported, but Lima-Taub said she doesn’t work there.
“You want to make it personal, commissioner, we’ll make it personal all day long,” London said.
The exchange becomes heated around 1:35 into the video below, posted on Facebook by Commissioner Lima-Taub.
London has a history of making lewd statements. The Herald reports in 2017, then a commissioner, he called a fellow commissioner a “migrant worker,” which was false. Then, in 2018, he was recorded asking a city employee if he “sucked d—” in prison during an argument.
Lima-Taub also accuses London of talking about and touching her backside. “I am not a small girl. I am half Spanish… he thought it to be appropriate to tap my bum on several occasions,” she told Patch.
She is using the incident as an opportunity to highlight sexual misconduct in the Hallandale Beach government, where she says such behavior is “the norm.”
This sexual harassment led Lima-Taub to call the incident her “#MeToo” moment.
“Even if I was doing that for a living, that’s not appropriate,” Lima-Taub said. “For the sitting leader of a city to speak this way was completely inappropriate.”
WSVN reported that on Wednesday, Lima-Taub pushed London on why he brought up anal bleaching in the first place. “You said I do it. You said I bleach my anus. That’s what you said,” she said at the Wednesday meeting.
London admitted his comments were inappropriate and that he wanted to apologize, but was interrupted. “This, by the way, is just a big distraction to the city business that we’re trying to do,” said London, WSVN reported. “Again, my comments were inappropriate, but I’m really being attacked on a constant basis.”
The Hallandale Beach government has been going through some rocky times as of late. London was appointed Mayor after former Mayor Joy Cooper fell for a sting operation in which she accepted illegal Russian campaign donations, the Herald reports.
The Herald reports this is far from the only instance of sexual harassment in the Hallandale Beach government. Lina Duran of the Community Redevelopment Agency resigned in 2017 and filed a complaint against two male bosses accusing them of “gender discriminatory and sexually harassing behavior.”
“I was expected to go along with their cover up- and I didn’t,” Lima-Taub told Patch.
Lima-Taub said there are more cases, but the women are afraid to come forward because of “retaliation by the mayor.”
“We need to continue to stand up and make our voices heard because no one should have to be subjected to degrading remarks, especially from elected officials. I encourage anyone who has been subjected to situations like this to not be afraid and to speak up. Nothing changes if we remain silent and accept the status quo,” she told Patch.
“I’m going to try to empower the women who are going through what I went through,” she said.
Article images Keith London and Anabelle Lima-Taub, via City of Hallandale Beach website