Boyle Co. magistrate makes inappropriate comment about tourism director
BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- A Boyle County magistrate made comments about the county tourism director’s legs at a public meeting Tuesday, according to the Advocate-Messenger.
The paper reports Magistrate Phil Sammons jokingly motioned to give Danville Mayor Mike Perros a pair of socks since he wasn’t wearing any. According to the Advocate-Messenger, Sammons often makes this joke about the mayor.
Then, later in the meeting, tourism director Jennifer Kirchner spoke before the Fiscal Court about a county hotel tax.
The Advocate-Messenger reports as the treasurer asked Kirchner for a copy of the tourism budget, the mayor pointed out to Sammons Kirchner was not wearing socks with her shoes.
Sammons reportedly mumbled a response that started with, “If you had legs like that, I’d …”.
The paper reports this exchange then took place:
“Jennifer, they’re talking about you,” Magistrate John Caywood said. “I’d be careful.”
“Why?” Kirchner asked, looking confused.
“Jennifer, I made a comment about you,” Sammons said. “The mayor’s making fun of you.”
“I’m not making fun of her,” Perros said. “She didn’t have any socks.”
Then Sammons repeated his earlier comment for the whole room.
“I said, ‘If he had legs like that, he wouldn’t have to wear socks.’”
There was some laughter, but Kirchner spoke up.
“Listen — I’m a professional woman up here talking about tax rates, not to be objectified about my legs,” she said.
Then, there was more laughter.
“I’m not joking,” Kirchner said, turning to Perros. “I’m not joking — at all.”
“I was just saying to him —” Perros offered in defense. “You’re on me (for what Sammons said).”
“We’re walking a thin line is what we’re doing,” Caywood said.
“You’re walking a thin line,” Kirchner echoed.
Then, according to the Advocate-Messenger, Judge-Executive Howard Hunt encouraged everyone to get back to the business at hand.
Later, though, Magistrate Jamey Gay returned to the comments about the legs.
“Jennifer, if I could, I do want to apologize for the court,” Gay said. “That was completely inappropriate. I appreciate you standing up for yourself, as well.”
“Yes it was,” Sammons said.
After the meeting, Kirchner told an Advocate-Messenger reporter she was bothered.
“To be standing in front of an elected body that’s all men and to be giving a formal report on taxation and then to have them discuss my legs … I felt as if the whole court was laughing at me…I’m a well-educated, successful woman. … To be minimized in such a way, it feels really horrible,” Kirchner said.
The paper reports Sammons asked a reporter not to print his comments about Kirchner’s legs. Then, when the reporter denied that request, Sammons explained.
“The mayor made that recommendation and I shouldn’t have paid any attention to him,” Sammons said. “It was just a joke between me and the mayor. I’m sorry I made the comment. I was just following up on what the mayor had to say. OK? Put it some way about me and the mayor was joking and she took it serious.”
Kirchner told the Advocate-Messenger this is not the first time she has experienced something like this.