U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown says he was advised to be more ‘culturally aware’ after his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa invited an administrative inquiry.
Brown told a female server she could make hundreds of dollars as a waitress in the U.S. and told some arriving guests they looked ‘beautiful.’
A New Zealand website said Wednesday that Brown acknowledged complaints were made about his ‘insensitive or inappropriate’ comments to at the July event in the Pacific country.
U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown says he was advised to be more ‘culturally aware’ after his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa set off an administrative inquiry
Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has been ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa since June. He was one of the first ambassadors tapped by President Donald Trump.
Brown says he attended the event with his wife on his first day in Samoa and said he’d been complementing the well-dressed guests as they walked in.
‘There was a receiving line, and remember, we saw these kids prior to, and they were all like dirty and kind of grungy. Well, we walked in and everyone really 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 we said, “Boy you guys look beautiful, you look really handsome sir, you know, you guys are great,” ‘ he explained.
‘And apparently somebody took offence to that,’ Brown stated in a video taped portion of the interview. ‘Uhh fine. I did say it, Gail and I both said that, absolutely.’
He also admitted to giving the servers financial advice, the Stuff reported.
‘Absolutely told people they could make great waitresses,’ he told Stuff. ‘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.’
Speaking to Stuff with wife Gail Huff at his side, Brown confirmed that he had been counseled on his conduct at a Peace Corp event in Samoa in July
Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has been ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa since June. He was one of the first ambassadors tapped by President Donald Trump
The diplomat said the complaints had come as a surprise but he accepted the advice from the inquiry.
‘I was in fact told by my people, that “Listen, you know you’re not Scott Brown from Ryan, New Hampshire any more, you’re an ambassador and you have to be aware, culturally aware, of different cultures, and different insensitivities.” And I’m always welcoming that kind of good advice,’ Brown said in a video on the news site.
He said there had been some cultural misunderstandings, but also that many people at the event didn’t like Trump and he suspected there might be some political motivation behind the complaints.
‘Sadly, it’s politics, and it is what is,’ he said, calling ‘politics is a blood sport.’
The Stuff says that rumors about the incident prompted Brown to speak out.
He offered the mea culpa in a joint interview with his wife, Gail Huff, who seconded his version of the incidents that caused the controversy.
‘This has been a real learning curve for us. I was with Scott the entire time … and I literally saw nothing. It’s absurd,’ she reportedly said.
In a video, Huff says the takeaway is: ‘We are going to be very, very careful about we say and how it’s perceived.’
The U.S. Embassy in New Zealand said Brown would not comment beyond the interview he gave to the news website.