Huntington Beach Mayor pro tem Tito Ortiz was blasted by his constituents at a city council meeting last week. The concerned citizens had called into the meeting to ask that the UFC Hall of Famer to take action to halt a White Lives Matter rally that occurred this weekend in the city. The rally was being organized by a group called The Loyal White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan.
The White Lives Matter rally was attended by a small number of white supremacists. They were met by approximately 200 counter-protesters (per NBA Los Angeles). The Huntington Beach Police Department declared an unlawful assembly at the site of the duelling protests and made a handful of arrests.
Over the weekend Ortiz released a video message, which he called a ‘PSA’, addressing the rally. @FullContacTMTWF has the video. You can see it below:
In the comments, he appears to be blaming the rally on members of the Democratic Party. pic.twitter.com/6uRnlP6qu7— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) April 11, 2021
“I’m Tito Ortiz of Huntington Beach, California. I’ve lived here 46 years and the last couple of days I’ve been hearing some news about the KKK coming to Huntington Beach. I denounce it 100%. I denounce all hate groups that even come to Huntington Beach. This is a beautiful city and it will be protected. HBPD, thank you very much for your support. Once again I denounce all hate groups; KKK, white supremacist, all of them. End of the day, I’m an American. I want to do the right thing and live this American dream. It’s important to me. Very very important to me. Gotta protect it. So all hate groups. All racist groups, I want no part of it. Coming from me, Tito Ortiz.”
In a follow-up comment to his video, where a poster asked “Actual KKK in California in 2021?”, Ortiz responded, “Yeah it’s called a democratic party.”
Ortiz has been most politically active since the rise of Trumpism. Prior to launching his own political career Ortiz was a vocal supporter of former US President Donald Trump (who once had Ortiz on his The Celebrity Apprentice reality show). In addition to supporting Trump, Ortiz has been active in supporting baseless conspiracy theories that have spawned out of Trump’s one-term as President. Among those theories is the ridiculous claim that COVID-19 was a planned epidemic that was initially used to control protesting crowds in Hong Kong.
Ortiz has also boosted the messages of online conspiracy cult Qanon, going so far as to sell clothing emblazoned with Qanon slogans.
As a city council-member Ortiz is regular at odds with his fellow council members. The council is currently holding all its meetings via Zoom after Ortiz refused to wear a mask at city hall. When recently asked by fellow council members if he would consider wearing a mask, so they could return to in-person meetings, Ortiz refused and said he was willing to cause a confrontation with law enforcement at city hall to prove his point.
The White Lives Matter rally is not the first time Huntington Beach has hosted the KKK or other hate groups. The KKK has been active in that city, and much of Orange County, since at least the 1920s. The area was also a well known recruitment hub for Neo-Nazis in the 1980s and 90s.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in recent years, during the rise of Trump, Orange County’s historical racism has bubbled to the surface. That report, and others like it, cite incidents at high schools, hate crimes, creation of new far-right organizations and OC residents being involved in the US Capital riots as evidence of this.