UPDATED: Burbank’s Mayor Finds Himself in Hot Water Over Spanking Video

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Burbank's New City Council (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Editor’s Note – This story was edited on 9/14/23 at 4:55 p.m. to include more information and content from Counilmember Mullins who was very upset with the behavior of the Mayor

On Sunday, people from Burbank who follow social media were inundated with a video that showed the Mayor of Burbank, Konstantine Anthony, bending over a table and having a person identified as a drag queen giving him a spanking.

After receiving national attention, including Fox News, Tuesday’s City Council meeting was the first time Anthony or any Councilmembers had the chance to address the video, the fallout, and public comment.

Before public comment started, Anthony addressed the situation by saying: “I’m gonna take a little bit of personal privilege here as the mayor I wanted to talk about something very quickly that happened and hopefully cut off any public comment come this way.

Over the weekend, I attended a private adults-only event (and) there were some shenanigans and again, some silly stuff happened it was all fun and games.  

Unbeknownst to the people in attendance, there was a secret video that was made and then subsequently shared to a prominent hate group that has now seen fit to inundate the four members here and the city staff and many members of our community with some of their most vile hate speech I have ever seen it has difficult to do the business of the city.

I am, I am shocked at how inappropriate people feel, that people think they can just be to public servants, none of them who were at this event and yet they’re the ones being cc’d on emails and targeted and directed their comments to.

My e-mail is kanthony@burbankca.gov. if you want to talk to me about what happened over the weekend, send me an e-mail, send me an e-mail. I will talk to you about it. There’s no reason to involve all the other people who were not at a public event and not at a government-sponsored event, it wasn’t even in the City of Burbank.  I’ll talk to you about what I do in my free time, sure. But leave these people out of it, please. Like I said, the most inappropriate stuff.”

myBurbank sent an email to Anthony on Tuesday to both his city and personal email and, as of 11 p.m. on Wednesday, has not received a response to the questions posed.

During the comment, many were angry with Anthony for the video and no official apology was offered. While he claims the video was shot at a private event in another city, many feel that being the Mayor of Burbank has certain responsibilities that go with that title. He also did not comment on why he changed his handle on his X account (formerly Twitter) to “Mayor Spanky”, which would have been a way that he acknowledged the video and thought it was okay. While the X account is not a formal City account, he does use it for communicating and political functions in his run for County Supervisor.

Joel Schlossman, who is often a public speaker at meetings, said, “There’s only so much I can take it’s a lot to take in with what’s been going on in the past few months and you know tonight I didn’t point out speaking so I might I’m gonna speak to the four of you (the Councilmembers), not the mayor say something’s wrong when the mayor says that if you have an opinion and you disagree you’re a member of a hate group people in this city this city with morals who care, you cannot be a piece of sh** (censored by myBurbank) when you go home and then come here and put on a suit and that you are high and mighty.”

Many spoke at the meeting and by phone about the video. When it came time to the Council Comment, many showed their dissatisfaction with the resulting fallout from the situation.

Councilmember Tamala Takahashi was the first and read from a statement saying in part, “I’ve lived in Burbank for 25 years and have been a very active member for about 15 of those years. I am aware of the long-standing pattern of provocativeness and performance that our current mayor exhibits as part of his activism and social media presence. While it’s not a leadership style that I find to be very productive personally I believe it is not my place to judge another person’s communication practices or ways of interacting with the world, so no judgment from me.

I do not judge our leader’s actions or choices and his private life campaigning or community activism however, I do have strong feelings about how our work in the city of Burbank is conducted from a perspective of what we are doing here on this dias to me a line has been crossed.”

She went on to say, “…when it further affects our city staff, the other four council members in this room have our communities attention. We have incredibly important issues in our city right now. Tonight, we are going to make a decision that may affect dozens or lots more of our Burbank residents on whether they have a roof over their heads, we are going to make decisions about our city’s investment policies, we’ve spent most of the afternoon celebrating and never volunteers in our community for their hard work and dedication to the city.”

Takahashi continued by saying, “…for the past three days we had to field over 50 phone calls coming in at least 100 emails. I’ve lost count of how many emails I have received, personal messages on my phone number on my social media and I’m sure other council members will share what their experiences were, asking me what I personally will do about this. The city staff has wasted at least 30 hours or more of our taxpayer money on this issue. (I) have used up over 10 hours of my time on these issues.

I have a mantra that says, not my circus, not my monkeys. It’s a way to remind myself what is mine and others and normally that’s what I would say to videos like this, not my circus, not my monkeys. I shake my head, but this time, unfortunately, Mr. Mayor you brought the circus to City Hall and this is right that the lines have been crossed, so I want to make clear that I have absolutely no problem with participating in the fundraiser, I don’t care what quips and sarcasm you want to play with on social media, that’s your style, but the way that this was handled was bad adjustment and now what about 100 opportunities to deescalate and instead it was escalated. Not only did you bring hours of unneeded work to our staff and directed our communities attention onto this topic, you used your Burbank Mayor e-mail to respond to emails about this issue and provocative escalatory responses without any consideration of how your responses might affect the people around you.”

Anthony had also missed the Boards and Commission dinner held earlier before the meeting as well as the closed session that the City Council had with their legal representatives to discuss pending litigation with the City which angered many. It was believed that he was at an event in Glendale instead hat ha no relation to Burbank.

Mullins spoke second, and she did not mince her words on the Mayor and was extremely upset with his unprofessional behavior.

“I too, as a council member who was elected to represent the residents of Burbank and to conduct City business had spent many hours on the phone this weekend when this incident happened trying to address and deal with phone calls, text messages,. emails including some of my own family members who put this in my face saying what kind of city do you serve.

This is not what I ran here in the City of Burbank and spend the last 12 years working for the City, the last 40 years, 42 years of my life here living in the City of Burbank had to endure the embarrassment that I did endure.

I have absolutely, like Councilmember Takahashi said, absolutely no problem what you do with your personal life, I have no problem with anyone (with) what they do in their personal life, just like I don’t want anybody to get in my own personal life, but we have a job to do here and I’m very emotional right now about it because this is the city that I moved here in 1982 and raised my family, the city that I love and respect and will continue to do that and now I’m serving in a capacity as Council.”

Mullin continued, “It really pained me to see that our name was televised everywhere including Australia. I had text messages sent from people out of the country asking me if this is the city I serve. We have 7.5 million hits on our social media, maybe this is exactly what they intend to do. We were featured on Fox News a couple of times, I was sent all these emails, I was sent all these text messages and instead of focusing on City business,

instead of focusing on what we need to do tonight for our renters for our landlords, we had to answer phone calls that was unnecessary. I turned to our City Attorney, our City Manager, I don’t know who to turn to because everyone is looking at us to do something about it.”

Mullins went on to say with emotion,”I hate to be doing this tonight. I hate to be sitting on the dais talking about my colleague, this is not what we do here in Burbank on City Council. It really pains me that I have to sit here, I’m sure it pays Councilmember Takahashi, but we really need to look at how we conduct our business here on Council, all of us. We’re supposed to be professional. We were giving the oath of office to represent the city in specific matter and policy issues, not to be on social media, and I think I am too, very disappointed, the answers that I saw on the responses from the emails, also the responses that were on social media asking people if they were jealous asking people why are you sharing those emails. People have to express how they feel about what happened and our job is to listen and our job is to represent them.

Also tonight, I was hoping that you started off the meeting and I was very appreciative that you started off saying, well let me say a statement, and I was really hoping that I would hear an apology, but instead, I heard leave our, my colleagues alone and focus on me and send me emails. Well, that was not what I was hoping that I would hear tonight I was hoping to hear an apology that will put the City of Burbank, that we put the whole entire team, the staff and our community through this really difficult time.

It’s not fun watching our mayor bent over and in that situation being televised on Fox News. It was not fun watching this and seeing this, is the City of Burbank. It was very painful for me to watch and so you know, I think what was said, I think you can understand where I’m coming from, Councilmember Takahashi. I think as people should expect that we did not talk to each other, this is our own personal feelings and also as a professional that I spend 35 years of my life dedicated to Public Service. I’ve been held to higher standards since I was in my early 20s working for government that we have to conduct ourselves in a higher standard because everyone looks at us as individuals who represent our cities.”

Even though new agenda can not be brought up or issues not talked about by the Council that are not on the current agenda for that meeting, Mullins wants future action to be looked into.

“Regretfully I’m going to ask Council, I know we can’t really get into it tonight even though we have more than enough, but I want to ask Council to place this on the agenda for future discussion because we need to know how are we going to conduct ourselves moving forward. This must be discussed on the dais, this must be understood about people are expecting us, like Councilmember Takahashi, to say to take action to have you step down as a Mayor. I don’t think we’re ready to discuss this tonight, I think it’s something that we want to bring (back) and talk about, what behavior is expected moving forward from all of us, that we want to understand what the Mayor’s behavior because, obviously, there’s been a pattern Mr. Mayor, and I cannot take one more phone call, one more email where it takes me away from City business to deal with what the Mayor is doing in the city.

I appreciate you working as a Mayor for the people of Burbank that voted you in to focus on city business. Whatever you do on your own time, that’s your own time it’s none of my business what you do, nor that I judge you for anything that you do.

Councilmembers Nikki Perez and Vice Mayor Nick Schultz did not spend a lot of time on the issue although they were both tired of hearing about it and the time it was taking. They both commented that this was taking time away from doing City business,

Mullins later asked officially at the end of the meeting for the staff to come back to the Council with options after the situation involving the Mayor’s conduct.

Members of the Burbank City Council have not had to deal with scandal since 2005 when then Councilmember Stacy Murphy was arrested on July 13 2005, with felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor child endangerment after a search of Murphy’s Lima Street home, police found three guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and two bags of cocaine, child endangerment because the guns were accessible to her 12-year-old son.. The case stemmed from a case connected to the Vineland Boys. More than 40 members of the gang are awaiting trial in a federal racketeering case, accused of drug dealing, assaults, robberies and murders, including the 2003 slaying of Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka.

While at the time, she said that she would not attend meetings and work from home, a short time later, on August 30 of that year, she resigned.

Currently, there are no provisions in either the City’s Charter or Municipal Code giving the Council a way to act to remove a Councilmember, however, since the Council appoints the Mayor yearly without a vote, they may have a way to strip him of his title.

Short of possible Council action in the future if something is adopted, the public still has the right to recall by petition. In that scenario, recall proponents must serve, file, and publish or post a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition, gather signatures from registered voters at least 20% of the total number of registered voters, submit the signed petitions to the City Clerk’s office within 120 days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Recall. The City Clerk’s office will verify the signatures on the petition within 30 days of submission and a recall election will be held within 88-125 days from the date of verification.

Currently, Annthony’s term on the City Council will end in December of 2024, and his term as Mayor will end on December 18, 2023, when the City Council will hold their Reorganization Meeting.

Below are the Council’s comments regarding the situation.

unprofessional behavior was upset

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    2 COMMENTS

    1. The initial statement claiming that the City’s Charter and Municipal Code offer no avenues for the Council to act is incorrect. In Burbank, the role of mayor is not an elected position separate from the City Council. According to Article 4, Section 400 of Burbank’s City Charter, the Council appoints one of its own members to serve as mayor.

      Therefore, the Council has the straightforward option of holding a vote to replace the current mayor. Suggesting a recall election, as one Council member did, is misleading and unnecessary. As the saying goes in the Navy where I served, it’s like “flicking the booger.”

      The other four Council members should demonstrate their integrity by voting to reassign the mayoral role to another member. Zizette Mullins, with her wealth of experience, would be an excellent choice for mayor. This situation highlights the need for Burbank to transition to directly elected mayors—a change I have advocated for over the past two decades. Having a full-time, properly compensated elected mayor would attract higher-caliber candidates rather than those using the Council as a stepping stone to run for higher office, which seems to be the case here.

    2. Amazing how quickly people capitulate to right-wing fear mongering and bigotry. This whole thing would be a non-issue if not for the fact that one of the people involved was in drag or queer. This would be a non issue if not for the fact that right-wing forces are weaponizing this as a tactic to smear people they disagree with politically. Talk about cancel culture. The mayor has my full support and even more so now that he has shown some courage to stand up to the bigots and hypocrites.

      Have to say I’m disappointed in the cowardice and rush to judgement displayed by Councilmember Takahashi and others attacking the mayor. Since your message is that any physical contact with a member of the LGBTQ community is somehow degenerate or forbidden on a level above and beyond that of straight people then I have to say that the real issue is with your own biases and not the harmless conduct of the mayor.

    Comments are closed.