The images of Binda posing shirtless on Instagram, showing off a “Love Conquers All” tattoo on his arm were slammed by critics as sexually suggestive and were discovered on his official council Instagram account to promote his “Love Conquers All” paid speaking tour to middle and high school students.
The 23-year-old councilmember wrote in the accompanying text of the image, “To all the students I’ve inspired, talked to, helped, coached, or impacted, this “Love Conquers All” tattoo is dedicated to you and my way of remembering you all forever and keeping y’all [sic] with me everywhere I go moving forward. As much as I’ve inspired you guys, you all have inspired me. With that being said, I would like to announce that I’ve officially started my own public speaking business [sic] that I will be using to speak to and inspire kids all over the state, country, and eventually world.”
He added, “I truly consider myself a transformative leader of our generation. Someone’s [sic] whose [sic] meant to shift the culture and create change that makes a difference in this world. I am not the leader the system necessarily wants, but I am the leader the system needs and I’m here to shake things up and break barriers for future generations. I can feel the power dynamics shifting. Young people, it’s our turn now to shape the world and leave our mark. I’m fearless, I’m confident, I’m ready. Love you all,”
According to the Lynnwood Times, eight-year Lynnwood resident Diodato Boucsieguez asked during public comments at Monday’s meeting, “Is sexual marketing to inspire kids as a city councilman acceptable to this chamber? It is evident that this and other documented behavior by this councilmember neither represent the best of this chamber nor of our city. I call on Councilmember Joshua Binda to resign and for this council to take immediate action.”
One parent even accused Binda of “promoting that sex sells to impressionable kids, especially young girls,” while many others called on him to resign. Others wore “Resign Binda Now!” t-shirts.
In response, Binda accused his critics of being racists. He wrote in an Instagram story “the over-sexualization of fetishization of black and people of color is real and disgusting,” and called himself a “role model for the younger generation” adding that he will continue to “break barriers.”
Binda also targeted Mario Lotmore, the owner and publisher of the Lynnwood Times who first broke the story. “I have been silent with all the racism, discrimination, intimidation, and misinformation behind the scenes at the hand of these people that control these ‘media outlets,’ one specifically Mario Lotmore, that you see who is conservative as he literally ran for REPUBLICAN SENATE as they have made it their mission to tear me down cause they see the influence and power I have over the next generation and don’t like it.”
According to the outlet, Binda was found to have committed two PDC violations including using thousands of dollars of campaign funds for personal use. Additionally, he is under an ethics investigation by the city for recording a promotional video for his “Love Conquers All” tour inside the city council chambers in order to promote his speaking events at local schools for which he took in $14,000, according to the Everett Herald.
Council President Shannon Session revealed at Monday’s meeting that Binda’s building access has been revoked, and his city council email is currently suspended after he failed to complete mandatory training and because he had a “security violation.”
She added, “Both of these can be resolved with the training he needs to take which was offered to him and the rest of the council which the rest of the council did; the only person who didn’t on both of those things is Councilmember Binda.”
Sessions added, “It is important to state that this council’s leadership, the last council’s leadership, the mayor, the mayor’s office, and many other mentors in the community have tried to teach him, to advise him, to warn him, and all of those things have gone ignored.”
All of the other council members voiced similar sentiments including NAACP award recipient and Councilwoman Shirley Sutton who stated, “Even though it is really hard, I have to agree with everybody, I have to agree. My mom didn’t teach me this, and I know she is rolling over in her grave.”
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