UC Regent Caught On Tape Making Sexually Inappropriate Remarks

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Chelsea Viola
National Beat Reporter

University of California Regent Norman J. Pattiz, also the CEO of Courtside Entertainment Group, is in hot water after a tape of him asking a podcast host if he could hold her breasts was released on air two weeks ago.

Heather McDonald was the host of “The Juicy Scoop” on Podcast One, which is owned by Pattiz’s entertainment enterprise. After this incident, McDonald quit Podcast One and continued her talk show on another broadcast network.

Pattiz, 73, made his comment when McDonald was recording a brassiere advertisement. According to the recording, Pattiz interrupts her spiel for a memory foam bra.

“You’re making me nervous now. Let me do one more,” said McDonald.

“Wait a minute. Can I hold your breasts?” asked Pattiz.

“No,” McDonald said.

“Would that help?” Pattiz adds, “my hands are memory foam.”

Pattiz has recently issued an apology for his actions.

The note states, “There is no excuse for any such comments or making anyone feel uncomfortable. I sincerely apologize, and it will be a valuable learning experience,” as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

McDonald shared that she initially tolerated this behavior because she interpreted it as a generational gap.  

“But I knew it was wrong. ‘Old’ is not an excuse,” she told SF Gate.

Pattiz is not the only female employee that left Podcast One due to Pattiz’s comments. Previous employee, Ji Min Park, 23, left largely due to Pattiz’s sexually charged remarks. Park told the Los Angeles Times that Pattiz called her “the hottest Asian he’s ever seen” and would joke that if he was not married, “[he] would be chasing her down the hallway.”

The Board of Regents has not made any comment. Disciplinary actions regarding Pattiz’s comment are currently uncertain.

This incident adds onto the extensive list of sexual harassment occurrences within the University of California within the past year.

In February, UC Regents fired tenured English professor Rob Latham of UC Riverside over allegations of sexual harassment. Out of the system’s 147 year history, only eight professors have had their tenure revoked.

After his dismissal, Latham wrote about the substantial evidence working against these allegations and addressed the unfair handling of UCR on the Academe Blog.

The administration could have — and should have — admitted the mendacity of their two protagonists early in this process, if they had been remotely concerned with justice or the truth,” wrote Latham. “But that is not the path they chose to take.”

Deborah Willis, former chair of the English department at UCR, stated that the dismissal of Latham was a “case in which the system worked.”

“People are saying this is an attack on tenure, but I don’t think tenure should be used as a shield for faculty misconduct,” Willis told Inside Higher Ed. “That’s not what [tenure] was invented for.”

In March 2016, the Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law Sujit Choudhry took indefinite leave due to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him. The lawsuit was filed by Tyann Sorrell, the executive assistant to the dean at that time.

Sorrell’s complaint stated that Choudhry gave unwanted kisses, hugs, and other sexual contact. UC Berkeley’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination found that Choudhry violated the university’s sexual harassment policies.

UC President Janet Napolitano addressed the string of sexual misconduct at the UC in March, stating, “We just don’t tolerate this kind of activity at the University of California, be it at Berkeley or at any other campus,” as reported by KQED.

Napolitano created a System Wide Peer Review Committee to “review and approve all proposed sanctions for any senior university leader found to have violated our UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment.”  

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