It was a harmless gaffe, worthy of the poorly disguised snickers that surely followed. Last week, Governor Hickenlooper mistakenly introduced Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia as a "rising sex star" at a childhood literacy event. He often refers to the Lt. Gov. as a "rising star," and a "rock star," and said later that he meant to jokingly call Garcia a "sex symbol," but slipped up. Listen to the "rising sex star" audio clip here, courtesy of 850 KOA Radio.
But on Tuesday, while introducing Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at the Colorado Business Community for the Arts, Hick loosed the week's second inadvertent sex joke. According to The Denver Post, Hickenlooper reminded the more than 600 guests that Hancock's wife, Mary Louise Lee, is a acclaimed vocalist and then said, "We read about how President Obama sings to Michelle in the shower, so you can just imagine what the mayor gives his wife in the shower. Uh, I mean what SHE gives him in the shower."
The crowd reportedly burst into laughter and Hick's face burst into several shades of red.
One community member, however, has been less than amused. Dr. Timothy Tyler, a pastor at Denver's Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church, fired off a press release after the incident. In remarks sent to HuffPost, Tyler states "The Governor’s remarks that were allegedly made ... boarders [sic] on Sexual Harassment."
Tyler led a group of church members to Hickenlooper's office Wednesday to protest the governor's gaffes. A letter Tyler read outside of the office states:
I urge you to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Denver's African American community for your inappropriate remarks regarding Denver's newly-elected African American Mayor. Moreover, it is absolutely critical that you cease making sexually inappropriate comments regarding Mayor Michael Hancock, Lt. Governor Joe Garcia or any other elected official in this state.
The letter concludes, "Everything in my personal and professional life would be in vain if I sat silently while our elected officials of color in this great state are turned into sexual objects, right before my very eyes."
Governor Hickenlooper has apologized for both remarks. "We appreciate the concerns voiced by the pastors,” Governor spokesman Eric Brown said following the protest to KDVR. “Of course, the governor didn’t intend anything bad toward Mayor Hancock or Mary Louise. He simply put his foot in his mouth.”
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