Madrid's new mayor Manuela Carmena resolved her first major political crisis on Monday, AP reported, accepting the much-demanded resignation of her newly-appointed culture affairs commissioner.
Opposition parties slammed Ahora Madid party member Guillermo Zapata, calling for his resignation after a four-year-old tweet in which he mocked the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust surfaced.
According to Spanish media, Zapata wrote in 2011: "How do you get five million Jews in a (seat) 600? In the ashtray."
Zapata apologized on Sunday for the Holocaust tweet, denying he was an anti-Semite and asserting the "joke" had been taken out of context by his political opponents.
According to Zapata, a former television writer, the remark – which appeared between quotation marks – was prompted by a debate on the limits of humor.
"I find the Holocaust to be deplorable and terrible," Zapata wrote in a Twitter apology. "I am absolutely not an anti-Semite, on the contrary, I have always been interested in Jewish culture and have always been against the criminalization of the Jews."
Despite the apology, Jewish groups, opposition councillors and even Ahora Madrid's Socialist Party allies demanded Zapata step down.
"The city of Madrid cannot tolerate any racist attitudes and should have a zero tolerance approach to xenophobia," Socialist Party spokesman Antonio Miguel Carmona said, according to El Mundo.
Carmena, who took office on Saturday, was quick to accept the disgraced Zapata's resignation from the cultural post; he will, however, remain a member of the city council.