OCEANSIDE — A State Assembly candidate and City Council aide is under fire after a video of him using lewd language recorded years ago has resurfaced.
The video shows Michael Murray, candidate for the 76th District seat and aide to City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, talking about how to deal with a woman’s past sexual history, how to know when she is lying about her sexual history and how to rate a woman’s attractiveness.
Murray posted an explanation of the video and an apology on the Oceanside Votes Facebook page on Sept. 23.
In his post, Murray calls the discussion he has with another person off camera in the video “a private conversation between myself and a friend.” In the same post, he explains that he was a “semi professional comedian” prior to starting his political run.
“I have to push conversation to the limit to find the best material for the stage,” Murray said of his comedy experience.
Murray called himself a “situational comic,” meaning his material was based on real life situations he has encountered with a humorous twist. The friend in the video was another comic and the two were “working out” out their material, Murray said.
“That means pulling at a topic until material develops,” he said.
According to Murray, the video was recorded four years ago but he stumbled upon it again about a year ago. He then posted it to his YouTube Channel for his small circle of fans and fellow comics to see where his material came from.
“This was before I was a candidate and before I had any political aspirations,” Murray said.
Murray grew up in Brooklyn before moving to California in 2001 and enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. He served two tours in Iraq as a combat Marine and received an honorable discharge.
According to his campaign page, the core issues Murray is focusing on as a candidate include boosting the local economy, crime prevention, fixing what he calls a “broken education system,” reducing California’s “tax burden” and ending veteran homelessness.
“If you have seen the video and found offense to the language used or the subject content, I am truly sorry,” Murray said in the Facebook post.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said Murray’s video was “extremely offensive to men and women.”
“Mr. Murray’s apology is equally unacceptable and offensive, describing it as part of a comedy act,” Sanchez said.
According to Sanchez, she asked the city attorney what could be done since the city has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.
“He said only Councilmember Rodriguez can fire him,” Sanchez said.
Rodriguez became aware of the video over a month ago when a constituent sent it to him. He watched the video and immediately told Murray to remove it, which he said he did.
The video was recently uploaded to a YouTube account under the name John Willis.
Rodriguez said he does not condone what Murray said in the video, but he does not plan to fire him for “something he said four years ago in a comedy act.”
“My concern is with Michael’s performance as my council aide, when he’s working for me and what he does then,” Rodriguez said. “What he does on his free time that’s legal is none of my business.”
Rodriguez said Murray was exercising his First Amendment rights.
According to Rodriguez, he has known Murray for 18 years and served two combat tours in Iraq with him as a fellow combat Marine.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son