Fire Chief in Hot Water
(TX) The chief of the San Antonio Fire Department, Charles Hood, is facing backlash from a poor decision he made while attending a birthday party. In January of this year, Chief Hood attended a birthday party for one of his firefighters. The party featured a nude Asian model with sushi spread out on her body. While serving sushi this way is part of a Japanese practice (that has come under fire) called nyotaimori, it is not a practice that is normally performed in the United States. Chief Hood was photographed eating sushi that he had taken off of the naked woman’s body.
Some Positions Have to be Held to a Higher Standard
First I would like to say that it should be obvious by now that this website has a liberal view. Chief Hood did not commit a crime but there are still issues with his actions. On our part, we generally believe that what goes on between consenting adults is their business. I would like to say that the Chief was off-duty and therefore this is no one’s business, but I do feel that certain positions demand certain levels of conduct. To begin with, first responders are in a sense, always considered on duty. Even their policy manuals will state that they can be held accountable for actions they engage in while not on duty. If anyone should know this, it would be the head of the department. In addition to that, the head of an agency sets the tone for the agency. This is where the real problem comes in for us. In this case, we are thinking of the work environment female fire fighters have to put up with.
Agencies like fire departments and law enforcement departments have a high degree of misogyny. That’s just a fact and it’s no different here in San Antonio. I’ve spoken to many fire fighters and law enforcement officers over the years and can attest to this still being a major problem. So what happens if female fire fighters file a discrimination lawsuit against the San Antonio Fire Department and the City of San Antonio? How will it look when a picture of the chief, himself, is shown enjoying a situation that obviously objectifies women? How do you think a jury will view his actions? How much weight do you think it will give to the allegations made by the women? And when the women win their lawsuit, who do you think will pay for Chief Hood’s poor decision? You got it. We will.
But that’s just a hypothetical. For the women who are working there now, this is what they get to see, a boss who thinks nothing of treating a woman like a piece of furniture. A boss who finds it amusing for a woman, who is a complete stranger to him, to be laid out naked for his men to drool over. Yes, his men too. Don’t forget this was a party for a fire fighter so there would have been other fire fighters present. When their boss so obviously sees nothing wrong with treating a woman with no respect, why would they feel they should give respect to their female co-workers? Attitude comes from the top down and Chief Hood has just proven that he thinks it’s perfectly fine to objectify women and treat them as sex objects.
Just Because It’s Legal Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good Decision
As we said before, what Chief Hood did is not illegal, but it does raise questions about his judgment and it does give the impression that he does not respect women. So here are some other things that are not illegal.
In the consenting adult category: Gang bangs are not illegal. For those who don’t know, that’s when a group of men have sex with one woman or one man. Also, orgies are not illegal. BDSM is not illegal. Cross-dressing is not illegal.
In the just being a crappy person category: Being a White supremacist is not illegal. Being a Black supremacist is not illegal. Flying the confederate flag is not illegal. Being antisemetic is not illegal.
But all of those things, and many, many more, can and will cause problems in your professional life. That, too, is just a fact. You would think a man who made it to the top position in his agency would have sense enough to know when actions could cause him to be perceived as having biases and prejudices. If he doesn’t have sense enough to realize that then he doesn’t deserve to be in that position.
Per the KSAT article,
City Manager Erik Walsh said in a statement that he is directing the city attorney to conduct an “independent review” of the incident and that he will take “whatever action is warranted.”
In our opinion, Chief Hood should no longer be the head of the agency. Whether they fire him or demote him is their call, but it can no longer be assumed that he respects his female employees and sees and treats them no differently than he does his male employees.