Shyne requested bodyguards to walk the runway at Equality Fashion Week

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NiK Kacy, former member of the LGBTQ+ Commission, took to the public comment podium at the commission’s Thursday night June meeting. Kacy was dismissed by Councilmember Shyne after the designer decided against having Shyne participate as a runway model in the Equality Fashion Week Presentation. WEHOonline broke the story here: https://wehoonline.com/2024/06/03/sepi-shyne-boots-nik-kacy-off-lgbtq-commission-runway-faux-pas/

A packed house awaited Kacy’s statement in the community meeting room at City Hall. Kacy then urged the commission to revise the city code to allow for protections for appointed officials.

“Hi, my name is NiK Kacy, former LGBTQ Commissioner and a member of the community for over 27 years. Good evening, commissioners and members of our community. Over the past two decades I have dedicated myself to the growth and vibrancy of West Hollywood, particularly our POC, lesbian, queer, trans, and gender expansive community. My time on this commission has been marked by a commitment to inclusivity, advocacy, and celebration exemplified by our work on the Rainbow Key Awards. It has been an honor to work with you, alongside you, as the first and only trans and non-binary member of this new LGBTQ+ Commission, striving to make our community a beacon of acceptance and inclusion.

“This is why tonight I stand before you with a heavy heart and deep concerns for appointed members of this city’s boards and commissions. On May 15 during the first day of Equality Fashion Week, I received a sudden and unexpected email from Councilmember Sepi Shyne informing me that my service as a Commissioner was no longer needed effective immediately. This decision came without prior discussion with me or any indication of concerns that might have been addressed collaboratively, with the exception of some concerns that transpired between an Equality Week designer and Sepi for weeks leading up to the event. Given my unwavering support for Sepi in her role and aspirations for the past few years, it came as a shock to me to be dismissed so abruptly. This removal raises concerns about the representation and community members who volunteer their time to serve within the city’s governance. This situation underscores the urgent need to review the process for dismissing appointees. We need a system that ensures greater transparency, communication, and respect for those who work tirelessly for the community’s well-being and sense of belonging. By the way, on the city’s website its core values include: ‘we recognize and celebrate the diversity of our community by treating all individuals with respect for their personal dignity and provide a wide array of specialized services. We promote mutual respect, courtesy, and thoughtfulness in all interactions.’ Despite this setback, my commitment to this community remains steadfast. I will continue to advocate. I urge this commission and city council to investigate further and make the appropriate revisions needed to treat all people with respect and dignity. Thank you so much.”

Kacy received wide applause, but the testimony from others painted a clearer picture of the events that caused Shyne to retaliate against Kacy.

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“Good evening, commissioners. Thank you for your time. My name is Leon Elias Wu, I am the founder and creative director of Sharpe Suiting. As an artist and designer, I contain creative control over all my shows. I strive to achieve diversity and inclusivity and to give voice to under-represented people in my community. Fashion is a statement and it has a voice, and I take full responsibility for that voice and how I use it. I want to give and profess my love for the City of West Hollywood; the city has so much significance dating back to when I came out as a college student at UCLA. Fast forward decades later and I’m proud to be a lesbian, transgender, and BIPOC owner of a queer business located right here in the spirited City of West Hollywood.

“Sepi Shyne was initially brought into my modeling lineup as a recommendation from NiK Kacy. But unfortunately, in the weeks leading up to the show, there was a growing conflict that we were unable to resolve. About five weeks prior to the show, another model expressed to me that she was not comfortable with Sepi’s participation. I told this particular model that I would understand if she decided not to participate, and she left the show. This, however, did not de-escalate the issue, and instead, over the next several weeks, Sharpe received multiple maligning messages about Sepi’s participation. This caused me concern about the safety and security of the overall show. I discussed this with Sepi and she suggested bringing bodyguards for her protection. I sought additional counsel from NiK Kacy. NiK encouraged me to work with Sepi on a positive public message or solution of her choice. I texted Sepi some of my ideas and requested that she create a message that would be authentically hers. She did not respond. With no response, I felt that I had no choice but to make the difficult decision to inform her that I’d like her to step down as a model for this opportunity, mostly out of concern for the public safety of the show, but also because my show was about peace and anti-war and I did not want to be silent over the controversy surrounding her appearance. Instead of addressing my concerns, Sepi removed NiK as Commissioner of West Hollywood the very next day. NiK had nothing to do with Sepi’s removal. It was my decision as a designer, artist, and community member. NiK has been a beacon of light to our community, not only as a commissioner but also as a friend to everyone for the past two and a half decades. As far as I understand, Sepi’s action was retaliation and therefore a serious injustice to our community.”

At the end of the public comment period, as Kacy was about to leave, the meeting stopped. All the members got up to take one final photo with the former Commissioner.

The retaliation against Kacy was not the first time that Councilmember Shyne has used her position to undermine the work of her own direct appointees. In another instance, Shyne fired Keely Field from the Women’s Advisory Board just weeks before the Domestic Violence Month programming. Field, who was serving as Chair of the Women’s Advisory Board and was in charge of the programming, was told, “You can go as a guest,” after an op-ed in these pages which promoted the Drink Test Strips that Field had championed. https://wehoonline.com/2023/04/05/shyne-badmouths-wehoville-but-texts-prove-she-punished-her-appointee-for-giving-us-an-interview/. Shyne also tried to have Keith Kaplan removed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce after his op-ed. https://wehoonline.com/2023/03/09/mayor-sepi-shyne-accused-of-political-retaliation-abuse-of-power-by-former-chair-of-weho-chamber/

Freedom of Speech is not a protected right in the City of West Hollywood.

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Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
26 days ago

Sepi Shyne was finally told NO bysomeone and had her ego bruised! others suffered for slight! Not meeting with media who tried to show her the increased crime statistics. She requested/received special protection, all-the-while the residents she represented as vice-mayor and mayor were falling victim to robberies, violent attacks, rapes, and being hit by or punched in the face, like myself or knocked out by violent criminals or erratic homeless. Sepi announced a run for congress 2 years after being elected to city council seen as a political opportunist by me and others. From special escorts and special protection only… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Jamie Francis
Tom
Tom
26 days ago

While it doesn’t shock me that Shyne needs bodyguards I doubt that someone as resolutely self-centered as she would not note that the majority of people she may need “protection” from were former supporters. I’m sure many in the community would be thrilled to provide her a security detail to escort her to the city border with the caveat she never return. Armed, for her protection.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
25 days ago
Reply to  Tom

I will personally pay for her first-class ticket to as far away as possible. One way.

Scott Sigman
Scott Sigman
27 days ago

Silly Shyne trip are for kids. You don’t need bodyguards what do you even look like

Morty
Morty
29 days ago

I’m no fan of Sepi Shyne but we are only getting part of the story here. This is mediocre journalism at best. If you’re going to write a story then please provide all the details. Other than the body guards I still am not clear what the issue was here with her participation. It’s a jumbled mess of he said… she said garbage. Do I think it was inappropriate to make a last minute dismissal like this without substantial cause, yes but there has to be more to this story.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
29 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

of course, Sepi would never deign to lower herself and give you her side of the story… and even if she did, who knows how true it would be?!?!!

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
28 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

but she didn’t… other than verifying that she didn’t take away funding?

CHLOE ROSS
CHLOE ROSS
27 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Talk IS cheap.

Morty
Morty
28 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry, the whole article is lacking in substance. There must be other people you could have interviewed to get more facts and details about this dismissal. I would like to know why Sepi Shyne felt there was a need for body guards in the first place. Did someone threaten her? Like I said previously there are a lot of omissions here and I personally prefer to get to the truth.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
29 days ago

I remember the days when “models” were people you fantasized about. Nowadays, your average “model” makes Lassie look like Cheryl Tiegs. They really should change the term to something more fitting, like “meh-dl.”

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
29 days ago

Please accept my sincerest apology for ever voting for that vindictive bitch! At least I didn’t vote for Erickson or Byers, so I wasn’t totally bamboozled. As for how did they get in office?…one big reason…ask about the huge infusions of money they got from Unite Here local 11! Uninformed voters go by name recognition and Unite Here made sure that their names were everywhere…even on every Pandora commercial! You mentioned her terrible treatment of Keeley and NiK. But don’t forget she also made Lynn Hoopingarner‘s life miserable. Thank God, (and i’m sure to the constant annoyance of the paranoid… Read more »

EM
EM
29 days ago

There was less drama at my high school fashion show.

Dark Knight
Dark Knight
29 days ago

True, Sepi’s “shine” is tarnished. I’ll say it again. I think this woman is an enraged militant who uses her CC seat ONLY to retaliate against her perceived “enemies” & get revenge on those she purports to have “done her wrong”. Her claim that her goal is to make the world a better place for others is not substantiated by her petty & vindictive behavior. She’s a fraud.
P.S. The idea of Sepi Shyne walking a fashion runway tickles my funny bone.

CHLOE ROSS
CHLOE ROSS
27 days ago
Reply to  Dark Knight

I don’t think there is just one way to feel about Sepi Shane. Just degrees of how she can be described. My observation of Ms. Shyne is this: she has only one way to think and it is first and always about herself. And in many ways she seems to take her cues from The former POTUS; now felon, so much in the news. No matter the issue, for her it becomes the “Sepi Shyne Show”. JUST MY OWN OPINION. I have never set eyes on her personally. But she does not seem to have an off switch. She sings… Read more »

West
29 days ago

Nik’s removal was vindictive and unnecessary. But there’s a huge glaring omission here— WHAT was the “growing issue” with Sepi for which Wu was receiving pushback? Wu states he is an anti-war person who doesn’t want to remain silent on this issue, but he never mentions WHAT the issue with Sepi was.

Nobody has been a louder critic of Sepi Shyne than me. But something about this doesn’t pass the smell test.

West
29 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

My first statement was that Nik’s removal was unnecessary, and of course it fits a larger pattern of retaliation by Sepi. But if the designer was being pressured to remove Sepi for a political issue, it’s relevant to know WHAT that issue was— the designer glosses over that in their statement. There are important implications for a publicly-funded event if certain view points are not tolerated, in the name of “equality”, no less.

BrownEyedBoy
BrownEyedBoy
29 days ago
Reply to  West

The designer said “I have creative control over all my shows.” It is their show, their choice, period. I think Sephi is such a devise and nasty person, that shines through to her exterior persona. Why would you want that walking down the catwalk representing your clothing brand.

West
29 days ago
Reply to  BrownEyedBoy

The designer doesn’t clarify. If they were receiving pressure to remove Sepi, it’s important to know for WHAT, and by WHOM. Ironically, Shyne retaliated against me by pressuring the leadership of a harm reduction coalition that I co-founded to boot me shortly after her election. This was due to political criticism I had made about Shyne. My little sister died of an overdose, so it was a very painful betrayal. Shyne’s bullying only escalated since then, and I’ve had to file multiple complaints with the City Attorney. I feel for Nik and everyone who has been abused by Shyne— more… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by West
Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
29 days ago
Reply to  West

West, two things … first, I’m terribly sorry you lost your sister. I lost a sister too, and I know how very much it hurts! Second, you are so much more eloquent than I am. I’m just gonna put it in my simple language. Why did the designer remove her? I truly don’t think it was some big political decision… I can’t help thinking, bottom line, that the designer probably removed Sepi because she was being a self-important, paranoid, miserable, pain in the ass! Knowing Sepi, that’s entirely possible. And since it was his show, he had every right to… Read more »

West
29 days ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

I’m glad the community showed up to support Nik, it’s definitely a sign that more people are paying attention and not intimidated to use their voice. Thank you for paving the way for us, Mikie!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
29 days ago

Freedom of Speech is not a protected right in the City of West Hollywood.”

Yes it still is, Larry. You still don’t understand what the 1st amendment means.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
29 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom of consequences. It means you cannot be criminally punished by the government for your speech.

Please, Larry- you have the entire internet at your fingertips.

There is barely anyone on this earth I hate more than Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump- but sure you can accuse me of being whatever you want when I correct you on what the Freedom of Speech means.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
29 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry, you might want to educate your audience on First Amendment Retaliation lawsuits available through civil courts. Too often some commenters tighten their pedantic buttholes to make narrow points on one truth that co-exists with multiple other truths that introduce far more nuance than toxic anonymity ever fosters.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Dear Larry, I must say that I don’t believe Lindsey Graham has any courage and even less self-esteem, intellectual honesty or personal integrity. He is one of the most cowardly members in the long history of the US Senate. Sorry to digress, as I agree with much of the rest of your comment.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Consequences for what?? What did Nik do that was so egregious? Nik did nothing that would warrant removal from the LGBTQetc Commission, at least by any adult standard. I have no real insight into why Sepi was asked to remove herself from the line of up models, but it seems that only an immature and self-centered person would deem this a reason to retaliate and fire Kacy. The very suggestion by Shyne that she would have bodyguards escort her if she was a model seems demented, at best. I feel sorry for Sepi as I believe she is/was a well… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
29 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve hits all the key words that have plagued Shyne’s tenure, the end of which can’t come soon enough.

CHLOE ROSS
CHLOE ROSS
27 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

As is just what I would expect from Steve.

JF1
JF1
29 days ago

This is what happens when people choose poorly at the ballot box. What a clown show.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
29 days ago
Reply to  JF1

We need to do a hard examination of how it is that Sepi, Lindsey, Chelsea, and John ever got elected so that we don’t make that kind of mistake again. These are all truly horrible people and if we don’t study their campaigns so we can be on the watch for the next candidate who will repeat their tactics we will unknowingly elect others who are just like them.

:dpb
:dpb
29 days ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Each one of the past and current council members you cited lied their way to elected office. Lied their way to Democratic Party endorsements and hugged and kissed Unite Here for exorbitant campaign funds in exchange for council votes that debilitated our city and increased their own personal and professional gain along with Unite Here’s coffers.

Last edited 29 days ago by :dpb
dave
dave
29 days ago

Thank you to Leon Elias Wu and NiK Kacy for informing us on the facts of how Council member Sepi Shyne has used her political position to dismiss another respected commission member with no reason other than for misguided retaliation. Why is it so easy for someone to remove a commission member without any evidence of wrongdoing or communication prior to dismissal is beyond reason. West Hollywood City Hall needs to investigate Sepi’s reasoning and inform the public on why this decision was made.

Enough is enough!

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