Rudy Pantoja Jr. may be most well known on the Internet for telling a female activist his name was “Hugh Mungus” after a Seattle City Council meeting in August last year. Now he’s running for city council.
Pantoja attended a public safety committee meeting in the council chambers on August 10, 2016 (29:20) to support a new police station in the North Precinct. He credits North Precinct police for helping his daughter, who he said was addicted to heroin at the time, off the streets and into treatment. Activists interrupted him, and after the meeting, one videotaped Pantoja’s response to her when she asked for his name.
The video of Pantoja—in which he makes the joke, and the activist accuses him of sexual harassment—went viral online. Ethan Klein, a supporter with a YouTube show, posted an interview with Pantoja a month later, during which Pantoja told him he thought the activist had “cute guy disorder syndrome.” Commenters rallied behind him with sexist slurs for the woman. Online supporters labeled Pantoja a “hero.” Klein created a GoFundMe account for him, which raised $154,000.
“I was hoping I could use seriousness with humor with her,” Pantoja told PubliCola. Pantoja said he later reached out to the woman to try to meet and “make friends.”
Pantoja, 52, said the incident made him decide to run for city council. “So that’s the last straw for me,” Pantoja said, “when I can’t go down to City Hall and testify as an average person in regards to a family matter.” He said he wants to change the language city council members use to talk to the public to make it easier for the “average Joe” to understand and not be intimidated to talk at City Hall.
Pantoja said he is going to Los Angeles this month to discuss “affordable housing and the cartel” with Klein on his YouTube channel, h3h3Productions, and ask for support to "help us make Seattle beautiful again." The channel, created in April 2011, has over 4 million subscribers, and the first interview with Pantoja has nearly 6 million views. Pantoja’s so far only raised $1,600, according to the Public Disclosure Commission.
“I’ll be honest…I have no idea what City Hall is doing," Pantoja said. “That’s the whole reason I want to get elected, to find out what the heck is going on in the inside.”