Homophobic slur emerges same day Roger Nuñez named to represent Desert Hot Springs on panel to review schematic designs for Palm Springs campus

Homophobic Slur Casts Shadow on Roger Nuñez

Roger V. Nuñez

PALM DESERT — On the day Desert Hot Springs Mayor Pro Tem Roger Nuñez was named to a panel that will hold public meetings on the planned Palm Springs campus, Uken Report has obtained emails in which he uses the homophobic slur “putos.”

Now, some people are questioning whether he deserves to sit on the panel and whether he will be respectful to ideas from the LGBTQ community.

For those who might not know, “putos” is a Spanish word for faggots. It is considered so vile that Fifa issued 51 disciplinary actions over homophobia during 2018 World Cup qualifiers, according to The Guardian.

It all started with an email Scott White, president and CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, sent on Aug. 22, 2022. The email was in reference to a press conference at which the results of a Culinary and Hospitality program case study would be shared.

Nuñez was one of the recipients of White’s email.

He sent that email, which he received at his official city account, to his personal email account. It appears Nuñez was aware of exactly what he was doing and attempted to hide it. We have the receipts, which you can view for yourself. 

Nuñez then forwarded the email from his personal account to beleaguered College of the Desert Trustee Bea Gonzalez at her official COD account, saying, “This is getting around to different city leaders! Putos.”

Gonzalez then forwarded that email from her COD email account to embattled Trustee Rubén Pérez and COD Superintendent/President Martha Garcia, who is facing issues of her own, at their official COD accounts.

Uken Report reached out to Nuñez Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know anything about it (the email),” Nunez said. “I have no idea. I never used that word.”

He also asked who Scott White is.

Why Nuñez used the homophobic slur is unclear. Was he referring to all of Palm Springs as “Putos?” Greater Palm Springs has a robust and vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It is well-known as a welcoming LGBTQ+ travel and living destination.

Homophobic Slur Casts Shadow on Roger Nuñez

Gary Gardner

Desert Hot Springs City Councilmember Gary Gardner, who is openly gay, told Uken Report, “While we have all used unfortunate choices of words in our private conversations, I am quite frankly surprised and saddened at the use of the derogatory term in my colleague, Mr. Nunez’s  email. This seems out of character for someone with whom my partner and I have socialized with and spent time with at city and community functions.

“I’ve not spoken with Mr. Nunez since reading the email, and I’m hoping it was an unfortunate heat-of-the-moment colloquial comment to a fellow Spanish speaker, Ms. Gonzalez,” Gardner continued. “It is a very unfortunate choice of words — but I do not believe it reflects any prejudice or animosity towards the LGBTQ community by Mr. Nunez.”

College of the Desert will host a series of four public meetings through June to seek input on design plans for the planned  Palm Springs campus. The first meeting is at 9:30 a.m. this Wednesday. March 22.



Image Sources

  • Roger V. Nuñez: Roger V. Nuñez
  • COD schematic drawings: COD