Scott Brown, the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, acknowledged he was being investigated over insensitive remarks he made during his inaugural trip to Samoa, which he also represents for the U.S.
Speaking to New Zealand media Wednesday, Brown said he was the subject of an "administrative inquiry" by the State Department over comments he made at a Peace Corps event in Samoa in July. Investigators were sent to Wellington to look into the incident.
The former senator reportedly told some of the guests they looked beautiful and made a comment to one server that she could make hundreds of dollars in the hospitality industry in the United States.
"When we walked into the Peace Corp event we walked in and there was a receiving line and prior to walking they were all like dirty and grungy ... We walked in and everyone was dressed to the nines. They all looked great, Gail looked great, you know I was dressed up and Gail and I both walked in and said 'you guys are beautiful, you look really handsome sir, you guys are great'. And apparently somebody took offence to that," Brown explained.
He also discussed the other remark he made that was the subject of one of the complaints.
"When we found out what the issues were what the comments were, yes I absolutely said the first thing, we both did. Absolutely told people they could make great waitresses," he recalled. "I would say that to my kids too, in between jobs, hustling one, two, three jobs. Just get some money in your pocket and get out of there."
He said his staff told him he’s not in New Hampshire anymore and that he must be “culturally aware of different cultures and sensitivities.”
“We are in a different culture: even though we all speak English, sometimes when we say one thing it means the complete different thing.”
His wife Gail Huff said what they learned from the incident is that “We are going to be very, very careful about we say and how it’s perceived.”
Brown went on to say “politics is a blood sport” and there were a lot of people at the event who did not like US president Donald Trump. Brown was Trump’s first ambassadorial appointment after he took office. (The Guardian)
The U.S. embassy had no further comment other than what Brown said in the interview.