An aide to an L.A. councilman traded Holocaust jokes about Amy Schumer. Now he's out

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: LA council-member Hugo Soto-Martinez poses for a portrait at his apartment as he is under attack because a staffer of his called police to ask for extra patrols around his car on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez, pictured earlier this year, said an aide who exchanged Holocaust jokes about comedian Amy Schumer has resigned. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

A high-level aide to Los Angeles City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez resigned from his post Friday after facing criticism for making Holocaust jokes about the comedian Amy Schumer on social media.

Josh Androsky, senior advisor to Soto-Martínez, took part in an exchange on X, formerly known as Twitter, earlier in the day that featured puns about concentration camps and what appeared to be disparaging remarks about Schumer's weight.

By the end of the day, the messages from Androsky, who has worked as a political consultant for at least three of the council's 15 members, had been condemned by an array of civic leaders, including Mayor Karen Bass.

“The anti-Semitic and misogynistic comments made today were reprehensible, disgusting and dangerous and in no way represent the city family," Bass said in a statement issued just before midnight. "Especially now, City Hall must be a beacon of hope, not hate. I’m glad the staffer responsible has resigned.”

Soto-Martínez, in a separate statement, called the posts from his employee "disturbing and reprehensible."

"With antisemitism on the rise in recent years and especially in recent weeks, cracking jokes about the holocaust isn't just disgusting, it's dangerous," said Soto-Martínez, who chairs the council's civil rights committee. "These antisemitic and misogynistic posts sickened me, and I have accepted his resignation effective immediately."

The Androsky incident appeared to have begun Friday morning, when the social media account for TrueAnon, a podcast, took aim at Schumer, who had posted a political cartoon derided as offensive to Palestinians living in Gaza and to protesters seeking to end the bloodshed there.

The TrueAnon account wrote that Schumer, who frequently posts about the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, is "particularly sensitive to Jewish deaths due to her experience in the holocaust."

"The nazis named a concentration camp after her. It was called Da Cow," the TrueAnon account wrote, offering a pun on Dachau, where more than 40,000 prisoners were killed, according to some estimates.

Androsky, a onetime comedian who is Jewish himself, responded by saying "it's f— up that you would say this about her when you know it was actually Cowschwitz."

Later, in an apparent reference to a sprawling cattle farm near the 5 Freeway, Androsky took another dig at Schumer, writing: "I called it cowschwitz!!! either way they all (and amy) smelled the same."

Androsky did not respond to multiple inquiries from The Times. He initially deleted his posts, then his entire account.

Schumer has not publicly commented on the controversy. She described her Jewish heritage in one recent Instagram post, mentioning a relative who had "numbers from Auschwitz burned into his forearm." In another, she apologized for making "hurtful" remarks about Gazans, promising to "be more careful."

The reaction to Androsky's posts was swift among L.A.'s Jewish community leaders.

Jake Flynn, a spokesperson for Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, said his boss had seen Androsky's messages and was "appalled." Sam Yebri, an activist who sits on the board of the legal services nonprofit Bet Tzedek, called the posts distasteful and antisemitic.

"The fact that a city employee felt it was OK to make these words in a public forum, with such utter disregard for any consequences, is shameful," he said in an interview.

Androsky, an outspoken progressive, has been heavily involved in city politics in recent years, working as a consultant for the campaign of Councilmember Nithya Raman in 2020 and Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez last year.

Read more: Shape Your L.A. — at the City Council

Soto-Martínez paid Androsky's political consulting firm, Bright Future LA, nearly $108,000 for services performed as part of last year's council campaign, according to Ethics Commission records. He also worked on the unsuccessful council bid of attorney Erin Darling on the Westside.

Androsky left Bright Future LA when he took a job with Soto-Martínez, according to Anne Freiermuth, who is currently listed on state business forms as a manager or member of that firm.

Androsky has long been known for his glib takes on social media. In February 2022, as Russia's military was launching its invasion of Ukraine, he posted on Twitter: "Putin's bad, NATO's bad, but the vibes here at buca di beppo? pretty good!"

In 2017, Androsky tweeted a joke about Bill Cosby that was denounced by some as insensitive to victims of sexual assault. He issued an apology and announced he was "stepping back" from his work with the L.A. chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, according to an archived DSA post.

Naomi Goldman, a onetime spokesperson for former Councilmember Mike Bonin, said Friday on her own social media account that Androsky's career should be placed "on the no-fly list."

"I would have vastly preferred to see Josh Androsky swiftly fired by [Soto-Martínez] with a strong leadership stance vs letting him decide his own outcome," she wrote. "But at least he is gone from City Hall."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.