Australia’s Parliament Speaker Resigns Over Gay Sex Scandal
Australia’s parliament speaker quit on Tuesday after texts revealed that he used inappropriate language with a former gay staffer who is suing him for sexual harassment, the U.K. newspaper the Guardian reports.
Peter Slipper, 62, announced that he was leaving his position after texts were revealed during court proceedings against Slipper that showed he referred to a female’s private part as looking like "a mussel removed from its shell."
"Look at a bottle of mussel meat! Salty Cunts in brine!" he wrote to former staffer James Ashby, a 33-year-old gay man. "Been to thw (sic) fish shop yet to buy the bottle of shell less mussells (sic)?"
Slipper, who is married and has two adult children from a previous relationship, has since apologized for his remarks but denies that he sexually harassed Ashby.
After Slipper resigned, an intense debate ensued in parliament where Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot, the conservative Leader of Opposition, faced off about the use of sexist language in politics.
"The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and are misogynists are not appropriate for high office," she continued. "Well, I hope the leader of the opposition is writing out his resignation because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he needs a mirror."
In April 2012, Slipper was accused of sexually harassing Ashby via text message and private conversations. Slipper stepped down from the speakership while officials conducted an investigation into the case, the Associated Press reported.
Ashby maintained that Slipper only employed him so that he could pursue him for sexual favors. He was also being investigated for travel fraud but the claims were later withdrawn.