'I have never hidden that I am a fully fledged sexual being': Openly gay West Hollywood Mayor refuses to resign after being accused of 'sexually harassing chorus members and looking for sex on Grindr during public meetings'

The openly gay Mayor of West Hollywood is facing pressure to resign after he was accused of looking for sex on Grindr during public meetings and sexually harassing members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.
John Duran, 59, has denied the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him and is refusing to resign as mayor.   
A protest is scheduled to take place at the West Hollywood City Council on Tuesday after several members called for Duran to step aside following what they say is a history of similar behavior.   
Duran has claimed that the #MeToo movement has led to a rush of judgement against him before the allegations had been proven.
He also insisted that 'being sexual does not equal sexual harassment' and that he had fought for his right to express himself as an openly gay man, and would not step down from his position. 

It comes after three members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles alleged that Duran, who is the board chairman, made sexual comments and touched them inappropriately. 
One member, Brian Phillip Nichoalds, told the Los Angeles Times that Duran put his hand inside his waistband and made crude sexual comments, while another man, Joey Firoben, said he was subjected to inappropriate comments as well. 
Jason Tong also alleged that Duran slipped two fingers into his waistband before a show in the changing room. 
Duran was voted in as board chairman again last week for the chorus despite the accusations.    
In an unrelated incident, the city paid $500,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against them and Duran back in February 2016.
The suit was filed by Duran's former deputy, Ian Owens, who he hired after meeting on Grindr and having sex with him.
In October last year, a council employee - Mike Gerle - made a formal complaint to HR about Duran for making unwanted sexual advances to his boyfriend Dennis Gleason during public meetings.  
Gerle claimed that Duran had texted Gleason on the app during a taxpayer-funded trip to Washington D.C. and repeatedly asked to come to his room. 
'It's about consent. He has this sense of entitlement that because we're gay, 'I can do whatever I want with you because that's our culture.' He's decided that's our culture. 
'He doesn't understand that every gay man gets to decide what interactions he has. You don't get a pass,' Gerle told the Times. 
Duran, who has been on the council since 2001 and has served as mayor four times, issued a statement on Facebook addressing the recent allegations and calls for him to resign. 
He said he has always acknowledged that sexual harassment is a serious issue but there must be investigations before conclusions are reached. 
'I have never hidden from any of you that I am a fully fledged sexual being. 
'We fought too hard in the 70's and 80's for the right to be, the right to create a gay male subculture, the right to maintain sexuality in the midst of plague and to come out on the other side into marriage equality. 
'To express yourselves sexually just like any other subculture in America. And we explored the lengths of that spectrum from leather community to drag queens,' he said. 
Am I the only gay man in town who uses bawdy sexual humor? Or says inappropriate things? Nope. Pretty much happens daily around here from gym to coffee shop to Pavillion's! 
'Now, I understand that the ground has shifted in a tectonic way with the 'Me Too' movement. I get that. But the pendulum swings too far when accusation is treated as truth, and mobs swirl around rumor and conclusions are drawn based on someone's race, gender or sexual orientation and accusation alone. That leads to injustice. 
'So, will I resign? HELL NO. I have stared down the KKK, the White Aryan Resistance, right wing judges and Presidents. 
'Being sexual does not equal sexual harassment. 
'No means NO! But you gotta say "no!" first. I hope that West Hollywood never loses its edge, its sexual appetite, its flirtatiousness, its sexy people, its nightclubs and children of the night. Freedom also includes sexual expression in art, In music. And in this very short life. 
'If my colleagues shorten my Mayoral term - so be it. I didn't wage this fight for 40 years to cower now.'
The protest at the council on Tuesday is also to seek action following the recent deaths of two gay black men at Democratic donor Ed Buck's apartment in West Hollywood. 
Duran once worked as one of Buck's attorneys. 
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