San Francisco

‘It Chills Me to My Core': San Francisco Mayor Faces Backlash For Calling Supervisor Peskin's Legislation ‘Gestapo'

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin is demanding an apology from Mayor Ed Lee over what he believes was a hurtful and crass attack.

In a private group text, Lee used the word “gestapo” to describe legislation backed by Peskin, a Jewish-American.  The legislation in question sought to make witnesses testify under oath before the Government Audit and Oversight Committee. Perjury could result in criminal punishment. It failed 7-4.

On Friday, Peskin said he takes the message very personally, especially in recent unsettled, racially tinted times.

“When things like this happen, you have to say it like it is,” he said. “When the mayor is talking about a Jewish-American person and using Nazi terms, it chills me to my core.”

When asked about the text message that was sent to six people, NBC Bay Area received a statement from the mayor’s spokesperson, Deirdre Hussey.

It read in part: "Mayor Lee apologizes for inappropriately and insensitively using the word Gestapo to describe Supervisor Peskin's failed legislation.”

It goes on to talk about the concerns the mayor has with that particular legislation, calling it McCarthyesque. The letter also says that Lee has reached out to Jewish faith communities to apologize for the inappropriate word usage.

Peskin says he's tried to reach Lee by phone, text, email and letter, but says he hasn't heard a word – or apology – from the mayor. San Francisco leader's need to stand together and be “beacons of hope, tolerance and unity,” he said.

“I welcome his call and I'm hoping we can move forward together for the betterment of San Francisco,” Peskin added.

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