Georgia lawmakers warned of ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual comments

Credit: David Barnes

Credit: David Barnes

Georgia representatives were told Monday that sexual comments won’t be tolerated after a legislator spoke on the House floor last week about a female rapper’s plastic surgery.

House Ethics Chairman Randy Nix told representatives that the comments by state Rep. Kasey Carpenter, a Republican from Dalton, violated sexual harassment rules.

“There is no place for epithets, derogatory statements, slurs or sexually related comments or jokes, period,” said Nix, a Republican from LaGrange. “Such speech or acts are totally unacceptable, and going forward, there will be a zero tolerance for such.”

Nix addressed the House after 20 Democratic representatives filed a complaint last week over Carpenter’s remarks. Nix cited rules prohibiting conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or offensive work environment.

“We must hold ourselves to a much higher standard of speech and conduct,” Nix said. “This is certainly not the image we need to project to our constituents and to the citizens of our state.”

Carpenter’s comment came during a debate on a bill about sedation regulations during outpatient surgery and made references to the rapper Cardi B’s anatomy.

Female legislators said Carpenter’s comments were an example of derogatory statements they’ve heard throughout this year’s legislative session, including off-color talk about sex in nursing homes and comments about women’s appearances.

The General Assembly requires legislators to receive sexual harassment training every two years.

An opportunity to share your views

Do you consider yourself right-leaning or conservative? If so, we’d like to know what you think about news coverage. We are working with the Trusting News network, the Center for Media Engagement and other newsrooms around the country to explore the challenges for the news industry around the political divide in trust of news organizations. Your participation will help us and the wider journalism industry better understand and reflect your views. Click on this link to take a survey and sign up to be interviewed. If you’re selected to be interviewed, you’ll get a $25 gift card.