Did Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) make a suggestive comment in response to a teenage girl’s testimony about a program that helped her overcome her fear of snakes? Or was he just teasing her about creepy elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes?
During her testimony, the 17-year-old said: “I am usually a very shy person, and now I am more outgoing. I was able to teach those children about certain things like snakes that we have and the turtles that we have … I want to do something toward that, working with children when I get older.”
When asked if there were any questions, Hewett replied: “If you’re bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here.”
Connecticut Republican party chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. called for Hewett’s resignation. “Representative Hewett’s offensive remark was a disgrace and an embarrassment,” Labriola said in a statement. “The fact that it was made to a 17-year-old intern visiting the state Capitol to attend a public hearing sends an absolutely atrocious message.”
But before arriving at any conclusions, listen closely to the audio (Hewett’s remark is at 3:05). Do you think he was making a lewd comment devoid of subtlety? Or is he simply guilty of making a lame joke about her fears?
Hewett later told The Day, “What I meant to say was, ‘If you are shy, then I have an acre of land in the Everglades.’” Better? Eh.
His tone, along with the laughter, would *seem* to indicate the latter. But many people are calling for his head. What say you?