Statement by the Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian – Former Noosa Shire councillor decision
18 March 2021
Former Noosa Shire councillor Jess Glasgow has been found to have ‘recklessly’ engaged in misconduct during an appearance on The Bachelorette reality television show, and in subsequent media interviews.
In handing down its decision, the Councillor Conduct Tribunal (CCT) found Mr Glasgow’s behaviour was so unacceptable that it would have recommended his dismissal or suspension had he still been in office.
Instead, it fined Mr Glasgow just over $4000, formally reprimanded him, and ordered he make a public admission of his misconduct and reimburse the Noosa Shire Council $1000 in costs arising from the matter.
The offensive behaviour occurred during Mr Glasgow’s annual leave in June 2019 when he took part in the filming of two episodes of The Bachelorette that aired in October that year.
In the first episode he appeared in mock mayoral robes and identified himself as a Noosa politician, telling Bachelorette, Angie Kent, “I’m a local Councillor, so, the one below the Mayor”, despite not being the deputy mayor.
The following night he was seen dressed up as a horse’s rear end at a photoshoot, and was filmed making lewd gestures, sexualised comments, and attempting to bite and lick Ms Kent.
He also indicated he would kiss Ms Kent and other women without their permission saying, “I would’ve just grabbed that sweetie and laid one on her”, and “I’ve kissed plenty of girls who’ve turned their heads before”.
After the episodes aired, Mr Glasgow told the media he had the Mayor’s approval to be on the show, however the CCT heard that he had not sought authorisation and only advised the Mayor he would be on the Bachelorette about three weeks before it was broadcast.
The CCT condemned Mr Glasgow’s conduct describing his comments, especially about women, as offensive, his behaviour during the photoshoot as disrespectful, and finding that his misleading statements to the media reflected poorly on the office of councillor.
It rejected Mr Glasgow’s assertion that he could do as he pleased during his time off, as well as his suggestions the show had been edited and that it was not a real-world situation.
The CCT found the evidence clearly showed him making gestures and saying words of his own volition, and that his conduct was made worse by the fact he could readily be identified as a councillor for Noosa on a show with “national and international exposure”.
It noted that being “off duty” does not disconnect a serving councillor from the possibility that their conduct could reflect poorly on their own character or that of a council, pointing out that the Office of the Independent Assessor received 128 complaints from the public about Mr Glasgow’s time in the media spotlight.
The CCT said it had little difficulty in finding Mr Glasgow failed to uphold the local government principle which required councillors to provide democratic representation, social inclusion and meaningful community engagement when undertaking their responsibilities, including their responsibility to provide high quality leadership to the local government and the community.
Mr Glasgow was not re-elected at the 2020 local government elections.
The CCT decision can be found here.
Media contact: 0477 385 727 or OIAmedia@oia.qld.gov.au.
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Last updated: 18 Mar 2021