Skip to contents
Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Ald. John Arena Apologizes For Text Message Calling Former Challenger Garrido A ‘Cuck’

"This is an emotional time for many of us who have withstood bullying attacks from right wing Republicans for eight years," Arena said in his apology. The two-term alderman lost his 45th Ward seat Tuesday.

John Garrido (left) and Ald. John Arena (45th) during the 2015 election.
WTTW
  • Credibility:

IRVING PARK — Outgoing Ald. John Arena (45th) apologized for sending a text message in which he calls a former challenger a “cuck” after losing his City Council seat Tuesday.

Arena sent the text to John Garrido, a police officer who unsuccessfully ran against Arena in 2011 and 2015. Garrido has been a vocal critic of Arena and campaigned for Arena’s challengers in the 2019 election.

At about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Garrido posted the text he received from Arena to his personal Facebook page.

In the text, Arena writes: “Oh johnny. I’ve lost nothing. You impotent little boy. Beat your ass twice. Knowing that for eight years you watched me build while you diddle away on Facebook was all I needed. Today I’ll cut the ribbon on an annex where generations of children will learn, you made a meme. Oh, and every time you drive MKE [Milwaukee Avenue] you’ll think of how I owned you. Good luck collecting your pension. 20% funded. Go write me a property tax check. Cuck.”

The term “cuck” is short for “cuckold,” meaning a man whose wife is sexually unfaithful. In recent years, “cuck” has also come to be defined as a weak or servile man, often used to insult a man with progressive political views.

In a statement to Block Club, Arena, a member of City Council’s Progressive Caucus, apologized for sending the “rude text message.”

“I should not have let my frustration at his comments get the better of me. This is an emotional time for many of us who have withstood bullying attacks from right wing Republicans for eight years,” Arena said. “I hope that we can all rededicate ourselves to partaking in a thoughtful and respectful effort to make this a more inclusive and tolerant community.”

Arena said he sent the text message to Garrido in response to a meme Garrido sent him.

Credit: Provided

In February 2018, Arena filed a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability alleging that Chicago Police officers who live in the ward were posting “racially charged language” online about an affordable housing project Arena was supporting in Jefferson Park, according to the Chicago Tribune.

With massive support from first responder unions, Chicago Fire EMT Jim Gardiner ousted Arena from the 45th Ward seat he’d held for two terms. Gardiner won 51.4 percent of the vote and Arena landed 35.9 percent of the vote, according to Chicago Board of Elections figures.

During his re-election campaign, Arena faced fierce opposition from the northwest corner of the ward for supporting a new affordable housing development that is on track to come to Jefferson Park. 

RELATED: Did Support For Affordable Housing Cost Ald. John Arena His 45th Ward Seat?

As a screenshot of Arena’s text message was shared in an Irving Park Facebook group Thursday, one woman wrote: “Wow! No class whatsoever!!!”

Some commenters on the post were initially skeptical of the text message, while others asked if it was in response to something the alderman received or if it was unsolicited.

Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.