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LANSING — A state senator is under fire Wednesday after telling a female reporter she should stick around at the Capitol because a group of high school students from an all boys school, touring the Capitol, could “have a lot of fun” with her.
Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, made the comments outside the Senate chamber Tuesday to a reporter from the Michigan Advance, while surrounded by a group of male high school students from De La Salle Collegiate in Warren.
"You’ve heard of De La Salle, right?”as asking reporter Allison Donahue.
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When Donahue said she had not, Lucido said: “It’s an all boys’ school,” adding: “You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.”
The students then burst into laughter, the online publication reported.
Reached Wednesday morning, Lucido did not dispute the quotes, but said he felt they were being taken out of context and out of proportion. He said he did not feel he owes the reporter an apology.
But Lucido later did apologize for what he called a misunderstanding, in a statement issued through the Michigan Senate Republican office and Lucido's Twitter account.
“I apologize for the misunderstanding yesterday and for offending Allison Donahue," Lucido said in the statement.
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Earlier, Lucido told the Free Press he was "not talking about anything sexual," but was "geeked up about the boys coming there," and "I was there to have some fun."
"It was blown out of proportion." he said.
But Lucido, who has expressed interest in running for governor, is facing sharp criticism. On social media, Lansing political observers said there is no context in which his comments were appropriate.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said he views the situation “very seriously." Shirkey said he plans "to have a very intense and lengthy private conversation with the senator as soon as we're done with the session."
"If those words that were reported were accurate, it's very unacceptable," he said. "And that's all I've got to say about it.”
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said the comments are disgusting and idiotic and part of a pattern that includes participation in anti-social Facebook groups and treatment of people, especially women, who testify before committees.
Michigan senator criticized for telling reporter a group of high school boys could have ‘fun’ with her
Michigan Sen. Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Township, is facing criticism after telling a female Michigan Advance reporter a group of high school boys “could have a lot of fun” with her when he was approached for an interview. In a first-person account, Michigan Advance reporter Allison Donahue wrote that she was seeking comment from Lucido on a Detroit Metro Times report regarding his involvement in a now-deleted Facebook group.
"This isn't a case of a person saying a stupid comment that happens when people are human," Ananich said. "When it's a pattern, this becomes who you are.”
Kara Cook, an environmental and energy adviser to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,she was "unfortunately not surprised" by Lucido's remarks.
"I was 23 when I started working in politics in Lansing and the number of inappropriate comments or actions that I’ve personally experienced is hard to comprehend. This needs to stop."
I am unfortunately not surprised by this. I was 23 when I started working in politics in Lansing and the number of inappropriate comments or actions that I’ve personally experienced is hard to comprehend. This needs to stop.— Kara Cook (@kdaniellecook)
Lonnie Scott, executive director of the liberal group Progress Michigan, said Lucido is "the personification of toxic masculinity and a disgrace to our state."
"We’d call on Lucido to apologize but we know that for men like him those apologies are often hollow and do nothing to change the culture of objectifying women," Scott said before Lucido issued his statement through the Senate Republican office.
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The reporter, Donahue, wanted to question Lucido about him posting messages on an anti-Whitmer Facebook group where some members had posted messages advocating violence against Democrats and Muslims.
Lucido said he shared posts about Whitmer budget vetoes, but was not aware of the racist posts, or ones advocating violence.
"I don't read all of these sites," he said Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, praised Donahue for speaking up about what happened and writing about it. She said the incident is "a testament to the changing times, and a reminder that those who are incapable of growing up and admitting their flaws will be left behind.”
Thank you all for the support. I promise I will collect my thoughts soon, but I will say this:
I didn’t want to stand up for myself after that. It’s awkward and in rare cases is it ever taken well and the comments apologized for.
But I’ve stayed silent before.— Allison R. Donahue (@donahual)
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press:
State senator files harassment complaint against peer, supports journalist's claim .
Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow spoke to ABC News about her sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Peter Lucido. Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, told ABC News she "felt a level of responsibility" to tell her story about an incident she says occurred with Sen. Peter J. Lucido, R-Shelby Twp., after a claim last week he made inappropriate comments to a young capitol reporter.