A reporter in Colorado was treated to a delightful voicemail this week from a sheriff’s deputy, who has thoughts on her breasts, face, body, and accent. The one thing he lacks — the only thing, really — is a basic understanding about how to hang up his phone so he doesn’t leave accidental messages. And now here we all are, together, having a learning experience.
Chase Olivarius-McAllister is a reporter with The Durango Herald, a daily newspaper in Colorado. She is British and American and grew up in London. The relevance of that factoid will become evident in a moment here.
Olivarius-McAllister tells Jezebel that she called the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office a few weekends ago to get some routine crime statistics. Deputy Sergeant Zach Farnam called her back, leaving her a voicemail that includes about ten seconds of actual message meant for her ears. That was followed by ten seconds or so of highly embarrassing baby talk with a dog in the office, and then, well, it gets worse.
Audio of the call has been uploaded to YouTube, with captions:
Here’s a transcript, as best we can sort it out. There are at least three voices on the tape.
Farnam: My wife worked at the Herald. She fucking hated that bitch.
Second, unidentified police officer: She hot?
Farnam: Not hot. I mean, she’s got an OK body. I mean...
Unidentified 1: Giant boobs.
Farnam: Fucking giant, dude. I mean, not like quadruple Ds or anything. But at least a solid set of Ds, probably double Ds.
Unidentified 1: You know what? It’s that UK fish and chips. UK women have big tits. It’s how they’re — how they’re grown over there. I don’t know why.
Second Unidentified Officer: She is, uh...
Undentified 1: Why do they have fucked up teeth? I dunno, but it happens.
Farnam: I didn’t look at her teeth. But she doesn’t have like a real pretty face at all.
Undentified 1: She’s from the UK. She’s got huge tits.
Farnam: Yeah, and her skirt was like seven and a half inches long. And just.. extremely pale white. But, you know...
Unidentified 1: She’s a limey. A UK thing again. She literally grew up on a fucking island that’s always cloudy.
Unidentified 2: I don’t know why you have to be so hard on her.
Olivarius-McAllister didn’t, at first, hear the latter portion of the message, figuring it was just dead air. She forwarded it to her city editor, though, who did listen to the whole thing.
“He turned around the office and said, ‘These people are very opinionated about your body,’” Olivarius-McAllister said in an interview. “I thought he was joking. I listened to it and felt just utterly appalled.”
The Durango Herald was instrumental in helping current La Plata Sheriff Sean Smith get elected, running a lengthy investigation on how his predecessor Duke Schirard had been accused of domestic violence against two of his wives. Smith, a deputy in the department under Schirard ran on a platform of reforming the department ethically.
Olivarius-McAllister called the conversation “sickening,” pointing out that all three officers were on duty at the time.
“I felt incredulous that people who are in uniform, on the job, and trusted with protecting the public could express so much contempt for women,” she said. “The misogyny is horrifyingly casual. How can such attitudes not affect their police work?”
The reporter says she received a call from Sheriff Sean Smith, who said he was taking the incident “very seriously” and who told her the conversation was certainly “unprofessional.”
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