A Michigan GOP state senator is under fire after he reportedly told a young female reporter that a group of high school boys touring the state Capitol could “have a lot of fun” with her if she stuck around.
Sen. Peter Lucido (R) reportedly made the offensive remarks to Michigan Advance reporter Allison Donahue on Tuesday after she approached him with a question following a Senate session.
Lucido told Donahue he could speak to her for a story after he was done honoring a group of 30 students from De La Salle Collegiate, according to the reporter’s account published in the Michigan Advance on Wednesday.
“You’ve heard of De La Salle, right?” Donahue said Lucido told her.
When Donahue said she had not, he informed her that it is an all-boys school that he had attended.
“You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you,” Donahue quoted Lucido as telling her.
Donahue said the boys “burst into an Old Boys’ Network-type of laughter,” leaving Donahue, in her words, feeling “objectified and humiliated.”
“I’m 22 years old and one of the youngest current Capitol reporters,” Donahue said. “The senator’s insinuating comments about the ‘fun’ I might have with a group of teenage boys was belittling and it came from a place of power.”
Donahue said she later confronted the lawmaker about his remark but he brushed it off by telling her it was nothing personal and that he made the comment because boys at that age are simply awkward and shy around women.
Lucido initially told the Detroit Free Press his comments were being taken out of context and that he did not believe he owed the reporter an apology.
He later issued a short statement apologizing for his comments, according to The Associated Press.
“I apologize for the misunderstanding yesterday and for offending Allison Donahue,” Lucido said.
Donahue, 22, wrote that Lucido’s comments were “belittling” and “came from a place of power.”
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) told the AP he takes “this very seriously” and intends “to have a very intense and lengthy conversation” with Lucido.
“If those words that were reported are accurate, it’s very unacceptable and that’s all I’ve got to say about it,” Shirkey said.
State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D) reportedly called the comments “disgusting” and “idiotic.”
“What his statement, his apology was basically saying [is], ‘I’m sorry you realize I’m a jerk, and I’m a creep,’” he told AP.
“Leaders in this state, whether they’re men or women, they don’t act like this,” he added.