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Lawmaker Tells Woman He has a ‘Snake Under His Desk’

Lawmaker Tells Woman He has a ‘Snake Under His Desk’

State Representative Ernest Hewett (D) just doesn’t get it. He made a repulsive sexual remark to a teenage girl who was testifying at a public committee hearing and has announced that he will not work with female interns, only males.

Sexual Harassment of Teenage Witness in Committee Hearing

A 17-year-old girl testified to the Connecticut state appropriations committee in February about the science center where she interned and mentioned that she had been shy but was now more outgoing, and that the job had helped her overcome her fear of snakes. When the chair asked if there were any questions for the witness, Hewett was the first to chime in, saying “if you are bashful, I’ve got a snake sitting under my desk here.”

Hewett claims that the comment was not intended to be sexual. He says that “what I meant to say was, if you are shy then I have an acre of land in the Everglades.”

Because of the remark he was stripped of his role as deputy speaker according to a spokesman for the Democratic caucus. Holding that post had earned him an extra $6,446 a year. He will now earn only the base legislative pay: $28,000 a year. That’s not all: more mandatory sexual harassment trainings will be held for legislators, and Hewett must meet with the Democrat female legislators.

Hewett apologized for the comment while continuing to protest that he had not intended to say anything sexual. According to Hewett, his wife jumped into the public discussion of the comment to defend her spouse with the observation that he would never say something that stupid on purpose.

But Representative Arthur O’Neill (R) said Hewett has made questionable comments before. “Rep. Hewett has a little bit of history of saying things…it’s not the first time I’ve seen his behavior raise some doubts in my mind about what his thinking was,” O’Neill told the Hartford Courant.

Here is the audio of the witness’s testimony and of Hewett’s remark:

Hewett Discriminates Against Female Interns in His Office

Hewett’s apologies and explanations sound hollow when considered alongside his policy of hiring only male interns.

As further evidence that he is living in a fantasy world where he can say and do whatever he wants to women, he offered his sexist employment practices as proof that he does not have a problem with women, as some legislators on both sides of the aisle had suggested. “I purposely will not have female interns. My intern now is a male. I want to keep it like that. I’ve had female interns in the past that sit in my office all day. I thought it was totally weird and I didn’t want another. As a matter of fact, I went four, maybe six years without having an intern at all because of stuff like that.”

It sounds like Hewett doesn’t trust himself alone with a young woman “because of stuff like that.” “I don’t want a female intern. That may sound sexist but I really don’t. That way that keeps me good and that keeps everybody else good.” He is right that he sounds sexist, even if he really doesn’t want women in his office. Unfortunately for him, there is no loophole in the anti-discrimination law for people who really want to discriminate against women.

So far he has resisted pressure from Republican colleagues to resign. But even without the lewd comment, his flouting of federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment should be reason enough for him to go. He refuses to leave because “I have people in New London I have to represent here.” Apparently it hasn’t occurred to him that someone else could take his seat and represent New London, much less that someone less prejudiced might do a better job than he has.

It’s hard to understand how Hewett has hung onto his legislative seat for so long given his alleged history of making harassing comments to women. He has sat in the legislature for eight years and is now in his fifth term as a state representative.

Hewett has two daughters. One can only imagine the shape their self-esteem will be in after being raised by a father who views females as irresistible sex objects.

 

Related Stories:

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Citigroup Faces Gender Discrimination Suit

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Photo credit: iStockphoto

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262 comments

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3:19AM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

Ernest Hewett is a total creep!!

3:07PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

If Hewitt can't control himself around women then he can't be trusted around female constituents. He should not be working with humans period - he's already said he can't be trusted. Isn't that what we all need and want to be able to trust these public officials? He's already said he can't be trusted. He needs to be removed very promptly from office.

1:07PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

Thanks Laurie and Mari, for your comments. I agree completely. Unfortunately, the only way we have to get rid of elected assholes is to vote against them in 2014. Be sure to target Hewitt for political extinction in both the primary and general elections in 2014.

11:15AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Wow...wtf? We should be able to fire these assholes!

6:19AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

can't believe it!

3:54AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

...jawdrop. What. WHAT. Part of that was even remotely ...

Urgh. -_-

2:16AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Total moron.

5:53PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

criminal stupidity -facepalm.

4:04PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

James W, oddly enough, says: Amanda, privileged white women (feminists) comparing their discrimination to that of black slaves is the reason so many African-American women detest them. I suggest you see the film "The Help."

I have seen The Help. Brilliant film. You, on the other hand, seem to have read a book. Who says I'm white? Who says I'm privileged? Can you tell that from my picture? No. We're jumping to conclusions because you read a book. First level of main discrimination: race and colour. Second level: sex. I have been discriminated against because of my race, my height, my sex, my beliefs. You? Discrimination within discrimination. Racial discrimination occurs everywhere. Sex discrimination happens to half the world's population. No, it's not a race to be the most put upon. But it does happen and you can't deny that. Yes I DO hold up sex discrimination as high as discrimination against colour. I'm not a feminist but I hope for that dream that one day we'll all be held as equal. Fat chance.

1:49PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

If some guy told me that I would give him the number to the animal control services. Then calmly walk out and register a complaint and making it as public as possible so there is no way he can get out of it.

He can say "sorry" all he wants, but it's not going to change the fact about what he did.

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