When Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London said “sphincter bleaching is a very up and coming business,” during the City Commission’s budget discussion Monday night, he may have been right. But whether he thought anal bleach had anything to do with public safety budgets — the topic being discussed — remains unclear.
Why London thought it relevant, much less appropriate, to accuse a female commissioner of making her living from bleaching her own anus is even more baffling.
“Was it getting my sphincter bleached, is that what I earned my income for?” London said to Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub, as the two exchanged personal attacks. “No that would be you.”
What did the mayor even mean by that? London couldn’t be reached for comment.
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Lima-Taub told the Miami Herald that she does not profit from bleaching her own anus. And whether or not she uses skin bleaching products — commonly applied by people with medical conditions causing hyper-pigmentation — would certainly not be anyone’s business but her own, she said. (For the record, her mom owns a spa that sells skin bleaching cream, but Lima-Taub said she doesn’t work there.)
“Even if I was doing that for a living, that’s not appropriate,” Lima-Taub said. “For the sitting leader of a city to speak this way was completely inappropriate.”
A pony-tailed commissioner-turned-appointed-mayor, London has a history of inappropriate remarks. In 2017, he told Broward investigators that a fellow commissioner was a “migrant worker.” He wasn’t. Earlier this year, London was recorded asking a city employee if he “sucked d---” while in prison.
London was appointed to head the commission in January after longtime Mayor Joy Cooper was arrested and charged with money laundering. The FBI said she had accepted illegal Russian campaign donations during a sting operation.
His latest degrading comments came as part of a heated argument between Lima-Taub and London near the end of Monday night’s meeting. London had called firefighter Jim Bunce, a 30-year veteran and president of the local union, “a simple mind.” So Lima-Taub, a former paramedic, sprang to Bunce’s defense.
“He has a college education, you don’t, so I don’t really know how you can call him simple,” Lima-Taub shot back at London. “To call a city employee simple minded is shameful.”
Lima-Taub, who says she and London used to be friends, doesn’t deny that she was making personal attacks. When she accused London of not working for a living (he once said in a sworn statement his job was city commissioner), London shot back with his remarks about making her making money from anal bleaching.
“You want to make it personal commissioner, we’ll make it personal all day long,” London said. No one on the commission came to Lima-Taub’s public defense. In fact, no one in the entire room said anything about the attack. Others, she said, have teased her about her personal bleaching habits.
Now, the commissioner accused of profiting from bleaching her bum has taken up a familiar drum beat. #MeToo she wrote on Facebook, citing the traumatizing event.
Lima-Taub says the mayor has made many sexually inappropriate advances on her before.
“I’m not a small girl. I’m half Latin, I have a derriere and he’s made comments about it,” she said. She said London “felt very comfortable” patting her there “until my husband said enough is enough.”
She said while what happened at the budget meeting was unfortunate, she plans to use it as an opportunity to take a stand.
“I don’t shy away from anything,” said Lima-Taub, who said she was abused as a child and is outspoken on issues around gender bias and abuse. “I’m going to try to empower the women who are going through what I went through.”