Guillermo Zapata. (AP/Paul White) (AP/Paul White)
Guillermo Zapata

Spanish councilman Guillermo Zapata resigned on Monday due to public outrage over a tweet he made in 2011 that made light of the Holocaust.

Guillermo Zapata tweeted in 2011, “How do you fit five million Jews in a SEAT 600 [a Spanish automobile]? In the ashtray.”

The tweet garnered public attention after Zapata became responsible for the Spanish capital’s cultural and sports affairs last week following the victory of his left-wing Ahora Madrid party in May’s Madrid municipal elections. In addition, it was discovered that Zapata has defended a journalist from the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais who denied the Holocaust on Twitter. That journalist was later fired.

The revelation of Zapata’s tweets caused public outrage in Spain, including in the Spanish Jewish community. Spain’s umbrella group of Jewish communities, the FCJE, called the Holocaust joke “anti-Semitic and repugnant.” On Twitter, two hashtags had been circulating calling for Zapata’s resignation, #ZapataDimisión or #ZapataDimision.

Zapata said on the Tumblr social network on Sunday that “some of those tweets, which were written within the context of a conversation on black humor, have been recovered with the goal of presenting them as though they represented my ideas… while in fact I do not defend them at all.” He also apologized on Twitter, but added that he considered the joke an expression of “black humor that helps reach catharsis.” Then, on Monday, he resigned from his post.