GAY OLD TIME

West Hollywood Pays Half Million Bucks To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

John Duran
John Duran

Here’s the thing about West Hollywood: Yes, it’s technically a “city.” But it’s plagued by the kind of small-town amateur-hour politics that seem more suited to the comment section of a YouTube video than the halls of government.

The latest nonsense: a sexual harassment lawsuit against a longtime City Council member was just settled for a half million dollars, according to our friends at WEHOville, which broke the story. Great job, WeHo.

A little backstory: Councilmember John Duran met a guy on Grindr named Ian Owens. They hooked up, and then Duran gave Owens a job at City Hall. At the time, WeHo had a deputy system where politicians could give out cushy jobs, and for some reason everyone hated everyone else. It was an insanely hostile environment where people were always either shouting at each other or refusing to speak to each other. Awesome.

Owens thought he overheard another deputy engaging in illegal electioneering, so he eavesdropped and took notes on her conversations. When he brought his complaints to Duran, he says, they were ignored and he was suspended. His claim is that he was punished for not being sexually available to Duran after getting the job. Duran and the city deny all that, and although an investigation said there was no evidence of sexual harassment, the settlement closes the book with no firm admission from either side.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-02-at-5.57.14-PM-e1424238411207-300x193
Ian Owens and John Duran in happier times

Since then, the dumb deputy system has been eliminated, thanks to incoming City Council Member Lindsey Horvath, one of the only adults to serve on City Council in many years.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for the gay bars and brunch places and all-night-underwear shops — residents and tourists none the wiser about how the place is being run, and probably not caring.

Why are WeHo politics so backward? Because it’s really not a “city,” as it claims, but a small town that lucked out with some super-wealthy businesses — hotels and nightclubs, luxury boutiques, that sort of stuff.

So there’s a lot of money flying around, and a lot of talented artists, but a drought of political talent.

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17 Comments

  • Spike

    Councilmember John Duran met a guy on Grindr . . . . enough said. Idiot.
    Gawd I’m glad I got the hell out of Weho.

  • Paco

    Council member gives Grindr hookup a job while hoping for sexual benefits in return. What could possibly go wrong?

  • martinbakman

    Isn’t WeHo overpriced anyway? Nobody wants to move there anymore. Let the rich yuppies have it.

  • stranded

    I don’t want to be insensitive to Owens if he really is a victim here but FUCK it seems like he played the game and won. He fucked Duran, which doesn’t look like a picnic, gets a job out of it, probably isn’t very good at it or professional, gets suspended, cries sexual harassment and wins half million and AND looks the way he does.

  • Stache

    @stranded: I think Weho should elect Owens as Mayor. He seems to have some really good co*ksucki. I mean economic skills. Truly a forward thinking guy from top to bottom. Weho needs that kind of versatility.

  • Stache

    Wow. Half a million. Looks like the taxpayers got fucked too. I hope that ass was at least worth it.

  • winemaker

    Sounds a lot like San Francisco! Do I need to explain the comparison? I didn’t think so.

  • Sluggo2007

    They would have to pay me a lot more than 500K to sleep with Duran. Somebody give him a milkbone!

  • Spike

    @Sluggo2007: Esp when the lawyer takes 40% and the rest is taxable. Hardly worth it.

  • Paco

    @Stache: he won’t end up with half a million and will probably have his reputation destroyed, career wise, to the point he will need to relocate and start fresh.

  • ScottOnEarth

    @stranded: LOL!!! “Which doesn’t look like a picnic.” Hilarious!

  • ScottOnEarth

    Sorry, but gay men are some of the meanest people I’ve met. Add the shallow WeHo environment and it’s a cold-hearted opportunist’s dream come true. Of course there’s nothing but fighting and back-stabbing within WeHo politics because it’s mostly bitchy, shallow queens vying for status, opportunity, etc. I love WeHo for the beautiful city it is but the residents – no thank you.

  • MrEguy

    Councilmember John Duran thinks he’s impervious to criticism. He also has an obnoxious sense of entitlement and a sexual compulsive disorder. This narcissistic egomaniac needs to be tossed out on his bony old arse.

  • rise above it

    Looks like Mr. Duran helped create a younger version of himself here. Maybe they should split the settlement money and both get help for their compulsive sexual disorders and insolent reactive behavior issues.

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