Los Angeles Times has published a misleading photo with an accompanying headline that falsely suggested that California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, a black Republican, slapped a woman at a campaign stop where he was attacked.
The LA Times article dated Sept. 9 reports that the Los Angeles Police Department is now investigating the attack on Elder. The headline entitled, "LAPD is investigating altercation involving Larry Elder at Venice homeless encampment," paired with a photo of Elder touching a female supporter's face, frames the GOP contender as the aggressor in the unspecified "altercation involving" Elder.
Elder, however, is the victim of the assault in question. Both the headline and the story's promotional tweet fail to mention that the black Republican was attacked by a white assailant wearing a gorilla mask who threw eggs at Elder while he was walking along the encampment-filled 3rd Avenue in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
A woman who says she was in the photo with Elder took to Twitter to expose the Los Angeles Times in a series of tweets calling out the slanted coverage.
She said that Elder was her guest at the time when the group was attacked by hecklers harassing the campaign team with a slew of "racial epithets."
"Yet @latimes finds a deceiving pic of us about to hug to confuse the story- a HATE CRIME was committed against a black man running for Governor of CA," wrote Venice Neighborhood Council member Soledad Ursua, a community officer on the neighborhood council's general board, according to its website.
"Why would you use such a misleading photo that makes it look like @larryelder is slapping me? He was the victim of a hate crime yesterday by a white woman wearing a Gorilla Mask. This is outrageous," Ursua tweeted in response to Los Angeles Times metro reporter Julia Wick, the report's author.
Los Angeles Times has since scrubbed the photo after significant backlash online. The stealth-edited article now features an image of Elder in the foreground escorted away from the gorilla-masked attacker pictured in the far-right corner.
"This is completely absurd," Elder's communications director Ying Ma told the Daily Caller. "Larry went to give a supporter a hug and the LAT used a photo taken at an angle that made it appear as if he was hitting her."
The liberal newspaper also downplayed the attack against the black conservative as "a hostile reception" in a prior Sept. 8 article on the confrontation.
Los Angeles Times is well aware that ape characterizations "have been used as a racist trope for centuries," because it's noted in the subsequent Sept. 9 report. However, the California paper buried the lede, only describing the attack in the second graf and the race and costume of the assailant in the fourth.
Ursua, the Venice neighborhood council's Public Health & Safety Committee chair, told The Post Millennial that she does know why LA Times has not issued an apology. "I also do not know why no elected official has denounced this," Ursua said, naming only Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva who has condemned the attack. "Not a peep from our city councilmembers," Ursua added.
"There must have been hundreds of photos to choose from. When he got off the bus we hugged. Why not a picture of us hugging? Instead they used a weird angle that makes it look like he had assaulted me. I am so disappointed and this has been so emotionally draining," Ursua said in an email statement.
Ursua said that Fox News media reporter Joseph A. Wulfsohn
was able to capture both photos and headlines by the Los Angeles Times. "If it were not for him this would have never been corrected," Ursua said.
"Look, we get it. The LA Times is on Team Newsom. They've made it clear time and time again. But these tweets go far beyond just having a political bent. One attempts to erase the assault against Larry Elder and the other makes Elder the assaulter! This crap is so maddening," Wulfsohn commented.
Wulfsohn reported on the image change, noting that the Los Angeles Times swapped the Sept. 9 report's cover photo after about 20 hours.
Julia Wick, the Los Angeles Times journalist who penned both Elder attack reports, has not responded to TPM's inquiries at the time of publication.
Ursua, a mother and teacher, told the California Globe that she and another event attendee, fellow Venice Neighborhood Council community officer Chie Lunn, felt targeted, because they're both the only women of color on the Venice council.
"We don't know if those eggs were meant for both of us standing next to him, or for him," Ursua said to the local news site. "The protestors called us 'f—ing whores,' and 'f—ing bitches,' and the N-word to intimidate us." Ursua and Lunn have filed police reports with the LAPD demanding the case be filed as a hate crime.
LAPD itself has launched a battery investigation after an Elder security guard was punched during the campaign event, ABC 7 News reported.
The profanities-shouting woman in the pink gorilla mask had "struck the aide on the left side of his face with her open hand," according to the LAPD.
Another attacker wearing a grey T-shirt also attacked the same aide, punching the man in the back of the head, just before Elder was whisked away into a white SUV. Elder's security detail was also shot at with a pellet gun, the campaign team said. Police are now seeking the public's help in identifying both suspects.
Video of the incident shows eggs being catapulted through the air, with the first one almost hitting Elder's head. One member of the campaign team is seen ushering the politician away, telling Elder: "We're getting egged from behind."
The masked woman was seen in all black steering a bicycle into position several feet from Elder's left shoulder before launching the initial projectile.
The right-winger was touring homeless encampments in Venice Beach, a statewide problem he says has been exacerbated under Gov. Gavin Newsom's leadership. The egg thrower could have been an "outside agitator," since "homeless advocates in the neighborhood" had never seen the suspect before, according to Elder.
Elder has since spoken out against the deafening liberal silence. He told Fox News in a phone interview that if he were a Democrat, the racially-charged attack would be garnering more media attention and on the radar of righteous social justice activists who would be "screaming about systemic racism."
"There's a double standard here. There was an article in the front page of The New York Times the other day, all negative about me, not mentioning the fact that I'm black, not mentioning that I'd be the first black governor of California," he said.
Elder, the leading Republican running to replace Newsom as the first non-white governor of California, has faced a monsoon of criticism from the establishment media, academia, and pundits alike on the left while on the recall election trail.
A California professor speaking at a rally for Newsom reportedly called Elder "a black face on white supremacy" during a campaign event on Monday.
During the pro-Newsom event, speakers took turns slamming the conservative frontrunner and hurled racist remarks claiming that Elder is "racist."
Democrat state Sen. Sydney Kamlager referred to Elder, without naming him, as a recall challenger who "thinks he might have an edge because of his color. But racism … comes in all shapes and sizes, and we're not stupid."
California State University, Los Angeles professor Melina Abdullah, said: "[Kamlager] didn't say his name, but I will: Larry Elder is a black face on white supremacy," Stokes reported Abdullah as saying to the crowd.
Abdullah teaches Pan-African studies at Cal State LA and is a self-described Marxist and civic leader who co-founded the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and helped lead the movement during the George Floyd riots of 2020.
Los Angeles Times also published a column on Aug. 20 that accused Elder of being the "black face of white supremacy." The article by Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith, who writes about "the diversity of people and places across California," appears to base the opinion piece's argument on Abdullah's views.
Abdullah is quoted, stating: "Anytime you put a Black face on white supremacy, which is what Larry Elder is, there are people who will utilize that as an opportunity to deny white supremacy. They say, 'How could this be white supremacy? This is a Black man.' But everything that [Elder is] pushing, everything that he stands for, he is advancing white supremacy."
Smith warned liberal followers that Elder is a "smug" danger to various Democrat-backed programs in California, such as divisive critical race theory. "Black people know better than anyone how dangerous Elder is," Smith declared.
"That doesn't bode well for ethnic studies in California," she wrote. "If he's elected, the task force studying reparations for Black Californians would be toast."
Reacting to the LA Times piece, Elder tweeted: "You've got to be real scared and desperate to play the race card against the brother from South Central."
"This is not the first time the LA Times has attacked me. There is another writer who all but called me a black David Duke," Elder said of the column while on Fox News host Sean Hannity's show back in late August. "They are scared to death."
Numerous observers have noticed that left-wing attacks on Elder appear to increase as he performs well in the polls. Right-leaning Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok shared a mix of the liberal Los Angeles outlet's recent Elder headlines, including scandal-driven hit pieces, an op-ed written yet again along racial lines, and an opinion article likening the radio host to former President Donald Trump.