Allison Donahue, a state capitol reporter for Michigan Advance newsletter, posts a suggestion for state Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, that he shouldn't need to see publicly: Don't say sexist things.
Her callout follows an attempt Tuesday to ask him about a story reporting that he was a member of an anti-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Facebook group, now deleted, filled with talk of violence against her and two Democratic congresswomen from Metro Detroit.
What was meant to be an opportunity for Lucido to respond to the report turned into him making comments that objectified and humiliated me in front of a group of young boys.
After the Senate session ended and the chamber cleared out, a line of about 30 boys from Lucido’s alma mater, De La Salle Collegiate, an all boys’ Catholic high school in Warren, stood in front of the Senate doors.
I asked Lucido for a moment to address the issue at hand, and he told me he would catch up with me after he was finished honoring the group of students. ...
"You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you," [he told me].
The teenagers burst into an old boys’ network-type of laughter, and I walked away knowing that I had been the punchline of their “locker room” talk.
Except it wasn’t the locker room; it was the Senate chamber. And this isn't high school. It's my career.
I'm 22 years old and one of the youngest current Capitol reporters. The senator's insinuating comments about the "fun" I might have with a group of teenage boys was belittling and it came from a place of power.
The headline on her account says, in part: "It's time to hold powerful men accountable for saying sexist things to young women."
Donahue, a 2019 Grand Valley State University multimedia journalism graduate, joined Michigan Advance last August.
Instead of walking away because "the situation made me embarrassed, it made me feel small," Donahue later confronted the 59-year-old lawmaker from Macomb County and tells how he responded.
The dramatic account, well worth reading, creates a social media stir that includes a Michigan congresswoman:
A comment under that tweet says: "I called the senator's office to complain and was put on hold three times because they were "receiving a lot of phone calls."
One of Lucido's fellow senators, a Democrat from Detroit, also salutes Donahue:
Thank you @donahual for being brave and speaking out about what happened to you. Basic respect & decency should be expected and guaranteed at the State Capitol.— Stephanie Chang (@stephanielily) January 15, 2020
Speaking up about harassment and reporting through official channels is critical to end this unacceptable behavior. https://t.co/Yn0PMnkJQ2