A second person in three months has come forward to accuse the top advisor to the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, of sexual misconduct.
Journalist Yashar Ali, 40, made detailed allegations in a firsthand account he published on a website on Monday night in which he details how Garcetti’s advisor Rick Jacobs forcibly kissed him on the lips and hugged him several times over a period of more than ten years.
Jacobs, who is a former deputy chief of staff to the mayor is well known in political circles in LA.
Ali describes how the alleged sexual assaults took place between 2005 and 2015, usually while he attended dinners and other events at Jacobs’ house.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s top political adviser, Rick Jacobs, is the subject of sexual misconduct complaints, including a lawsuit
Freelance journalist Yashar Ali, 40, alleges in a first-person article that Jacobs forcibly kissed him on the lips and hugged him over a period of ten years
‘Jacobs would grab my face and kiss me on the lips — always twice — and he would turn to other people who witnessed it and say, ‘He has the softest lips,’ Ali wrote.
‘Jacobs and I were never in a workplace environment, either. But forcibly kissing someone on the lips isn’t normal interaction between friends and unquestionably requires consent.’
He also said that he had ‘seen Jacobs at fundraisers over the years subjecting others to forcible kissing, grabbing and sexually explicit comments.’
Ali explains in his account how he had met Jacobs during a career working in politics before shifting towards journalism
Ali explains in his account how he had met Jacobs during a career working in politics before shifting towards journalism.
‘I considered [Jacobs] a friend, and we had many acquaintances in common,’ Ali wrote.
He writes how he became infuriated when Jacobs’ behavior appeared to be excused by others.
‘When I asked people who knew Jacobs about the allegations, I received messages like, “Well, you know how Rick is” and “None of us are surprised.” And I remembered how I had seen Jacobs at fundraisers over the years subjecting others to forcible kissing, grabbing and sexually explicit comments.’
The responses saw Ali confront Jacobs in a series of text messages this summer.
‘Rick, I saw your statement denying the allegations by the lapd officer which is your right of course but you used to forcibly kiss me on the lips in front of other people all the time. I hated it. And you would often do it twice and then turn to people and remark how soft my lips were. It was not something I enjoyed at all. Did it make me feel unsafe? No. Do I know the circumstances around the lapd allegations? I don’t. But did they feel familiar? Yes. I forgave you for what you used to do but if you behaved this way towards this man just be honest about it and deal with it. Denials won’t help you if the allegations are true.’
Jacobs replied: ‘Nothing at all is true. Nothing. It’s fabricated.’
Ali responded the following day:
‘Rick, every single person I’ve spoken to about this in the past 21 hours has said similar things to me, all along the lines of ‘well, you know how Rick is.’ or ‘That’s rick for you.’ You’ve got a problem, I don’t believe you’re a fundamentally bad person. But you’ve got a problem that you need to get help for.’
Yashar Ali detailed the alleged abuses he was subjected to in a lengthy article on Monday
Yashar Ali attempted to confront Jacobs about his alleged behavior in a series of texts
After July’s lawsuit against Jacobs was filed, Ali went on to inform a member of Garcetti’s team that he would be making his allegations public and hoped that something might be done
Soon after the texts, Ali then informed a senior aide to Garcetti that he would be going public with the allegations.
‘I just wanted to let you know that on many occasions Rick forcibly kissed me on the lips. I will likely be saying something about that soon.’
Ali and the aide had a phone conversation about what had occurred and was not urged to withold telling his story. He had hoped that maybe some action might be taken in the months that followed, but seeing that nothing had been done, he decided to detail everything in this latest story published on Monday night.
‘Despite hearing my allegations three months ago, no one in the mayor’s office, including the aide I spoke to, has attempted to contact me to learn more about what Jacobs did,’ Ali wrote.
After detailing the abuse, Ali shed light on the co-dependent relationship that Garcetti and Jacobs appear to have.
‘In Garcetti’s world, Jacobs has developed a reputation for almost always getting his way, despite best efforts by other officials and advisers to convince Garcetti and that Jacobs’ counsel is misguided. Often, sources told me, Jacobs would get his way only after throwing what was described as a “temper tantrum.”
‘Jacobs was not only known for his routine sexual misconduct, sources said, but he had a reputation as a bully whose rage often could not be contained and made the work environment within the mayor’s office hostile.’
In the lawsuit, LAPD cop Matthew Garza claims that Mayor Garcetti, pictured, was present for much of the harassment but did not intervene and would even ‘laugh’ at some of the comments
Ali’s allegations come after a separate lawsuit was filed against the city by LAPD officer Matthew Garza, who worked as a bodyguard for Mayor Eric Garcetti for seven years.
The suit says that Mayor Garcetti, 49, was present when many cases of the alleged harassment took place.
‘On some occasions, the mayor would laugh at Jacobs’ crude comments,’ the lawsuit said.
Garza became a member of the mayor’s security detail in 2013 but over the following years, the suit claims, Garza was ‘subjected to unwanted sexual harassment by Jacobs, who is openly gay’.
It alleges that the harassment only let up for a brief period in 2016 when Jacobs was on a leave of absence from Garcetti’s team of top advisors for an unknown reason.
Longtime LA Mayor Eric Garcetti consultant Rick Jacobs, pictured center, was accused of sexual harassment against a cop who worked in the mayor’s security detail in a July lawsuit
According to the suit, the harassment began in 2014 and continued up until October 2019.
It claims Jacobs would pull Garza into a ‘long, tight hug’ while making an ‘inappropriate comment’ such as ‘”you’re so strong and handsome”; “your muscles are so tight”; “I love me my strong LAPD officers”.’
Garza said it made him ‘extremely uncomfortable’.
‘Over a dozen occasions, both while Jacobs was employed by the city and after he left city employment, staffers in Mayor Garcetti’s office apologized to [Garza] for Jacobs’ harassing conduct,’ the suit states.
‘Nevertheless, the mayor’s office never took any action to stop Jacobs’ harassment of [Garza].’
The officer says he eventually decided to leave the security detail in June because of Jacobs’ behavior.
Jacobs has vigorously denied the claims of harassment made against him although no comment has so far been made about Ali’s allegation.
‘This lawsuit is a work of pure fiction, and is out of left field. Officer Garza and I worked together for many years without incident,’ he said in a statement to the LA Times.
‘I will vigorously defend myself, my character and my reputation.’
Mayor Garcetti, pictured, has denied he witnessed any sexual harassment from Rick Jacobs
The Mayor has also denied that he witnessed any of the sexual harassment claims laid out in Garza’s lawsuit, however no comment has yet been forthcoming over Ali’s claims.
‘The mayor has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and unequivocally did not witness the behavior that Officer Garza alleges,’ the mayor’s spokesperson Alex Comisar said in July.
Despite leaving his city position in 2016 and no longer holding a formal role in any city, Jacobs is still considered to be the mayor’s top adviser.
According to the Los Angeles Times, he raised millions of dollars in support of Garcetti’s 2013 mayoral campaign.