Bachelorette contestant councillor Jess Glasgow under formal investigation for misconduct over ‘crude’ and ‘highly offensive’ behaviour


Updated

October 12, 2019 00:54:31

A formal investigation has begun over the actions of Noosa Shire Councillor Jess Glasgow as a contestant on reality TV dating program The Bachelorette, with comments he made on the dating show described as “crude” and “highly offensive”.

Key points:

  • The Office of the Independent Assessor confirmed it had assessed the councillor’s actions as “misconduct”, after receiving a number of complaints
  • Noosa’s Mayor said he was appalled by the Councillor’s behaviour on Thursday night’s episode
  • Cr Glasgow said he “screwed up” but will not step down

The Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) launched an investigation into Councillor Glasgow for misconduct after his controversial appearance on the show.

The OIA confirmed it had received and assessed a number of complaints regarding Cr Glasgow’s behaviour on the program.

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington initially referred Cr Glasgow to the OIA for “inappropriate conduct” for appearing on the show as a Noosa Council representative and “bringing the shire into disrepute”.

But on Friday, the OIA said it had assessed the councillor’s actions as “misconduct”, rather than the less serious offence of “inappropriate conduct”.

The complaints will be investigated as a “breach of the trust placed in the Councillor on the basis of his statutory responsibility to provide high-quality leadership to the local government and the community,” the OIA statement read.

‘What is wrong with you?’

Cr Glasgow was sent home before the rose ceremony in the second episode of the show, after being accused of making several inappropriate comments.

During a group date, the councillor was dressed as the rear end of a horse, when a photographer asked bachelorette Angie Kent to sit on his back.

Cr Glasgow was heard saying: “Don’t mind if I get some wandering fingers, all right.” An uncomfortable Ms Kent laughed before asking: “Jesus, what is wrong with you?”

He was also shown making licking and biting gestures near her leg after also making a comment about him being, “the first person she gets to ride”.

Cr Wellington said he watched the program with his wife and he was, “totally appalled, as was my wife, and I’m sure most women watching the program would have been appalled”.

“It was just incredibly misogynistic, crude, and highly offensive behaviour that was being displayed by Councillor Glasgow on the show,” he told ABC Sunshine Coast.

“I spoke to Cr Glasgow [Friday] morning and it was my strong recommendation that he should remove himself from the office of council.”

‘Not proud of what I did’

Cr Glasgow said earlier on Friday he would not resign from his position, over “a one-off mistake”.

“No, I don’t believe one action, a bad mistake, bad call on my behalf should jeopardise the rest of my political career,” he said.

“I still work for the people, I’ve been doing great before this and I’ll do great after it.

“Obviously I’m not proud of what I did, I’m a first timer at this reality TV thing.

“I’m truly sorry if I made her [Angie Kent] feel uncomfortable.

“My actions were not good I agree with that, there’s no explanation for what I did.”

Cr Glasgow said he had not felt he had been treated fairly following his departure from the show.

“This is one day of filming, this is entertainment, reality TV,” he said.

“I in no way carry myself this way in my everyday life.

“It was poor judgement, I was joking around as a jovial guy, you’ve got to remember we’re on a set with all guys between 25 and 35, I just took it a bit too far.”

In another scene on last night’s episode, Cr Glasgow made a comment about a fellow contestant not trying to kiss Ms Kent.

“I would have just grabbed that sweetie and laid one on her,” he said.

“I’ve kissed plenty of girls and they’ve turned their heads before. I’m used to it.”

He was labelled a “creep”, “sleaze” and “womaniser” by the other contestants during the shoot, and when they confronted him at the cocktail party about Ms Kent wanting to speak to him, he said: “Bring it on, bitch.”

During the cocktail party, he made a comment to a waitress saying, “Look at you”, before a female producer was heard speaking to him about his previous relationships and asked: “What have you been waiting for?” He replied: “You.”

When Ms Kent confronted him on the show, she said his comments had made her, the make-up artists and the crew feel uncomfortable.

Cr Wellington has already referred him to the Office of the Independent Assessor for alleged breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct but said he had no power to force him to resign.

“Only the State Government, through the Council of Conduct Tribunal or the minister himself, can take that sort of action,” he said.

Cr Wellington said Cr Glasgow’s behaviour was “unconscionable” and he was making a personal recommendation that Cr Glasgow’s role on council had become untenable.

“I believe [he has placed the council and Noosa in disrepute,” Cr Wellington said.

Cr Glasgow said he respected the Mayor’s decision to refer him but insisted he had not done anything wrong.

“I believe I haven’t breached conduct, I know why I went on the show and I didn’t intend to bring any disrepute to the Council,” Cr Glasgow said.

‘I wouldn’t have aired it’

Macquarie University media professor and NRL gender adviser Catharine Lumby has worked with Channel Ten on sexual harassment policies for their reality TV programs in the past.

She questioned whether Cr Glasgow’s comments should have been aired at all.

“The temptation always with reality TV is, when someone does something appalling, they rush to get it to air because it will cause debate and help boost the ratings. But I think there are limits to what they should be screening,” Professor Lumby said.

“If it was up to me I wouldn’t have aired that material.”

But she said the way the other male contestants reacted to the comments was positive.

“I think if we went back a decade or certainly two decades ago, you’d find the guys playing along with that kind of offensive behaviour,” she said.

“But I think increasingly men stand up and call out sexual harassment when they see it.”

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First posted

October 11, 2019 11:26:00



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