Big “I” apologizes for remarks during CEO’s talk with Fox News host
Leader has been given an early exit following the incident
The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (The Big “I”) has issued an apology for what it calls an “unfortunate interview segment” between its president and CEO Bob Rusbuldt and Fox News host Jesse Watters in April.
The interview was held during the legislative conference. According to a CNN report, Watters, who has a history of making offensive jokes, made a crude comment questioning the gender of Vice President Kamala Harris.
The remark prompted a few laughs, but mainly backfired. Several members of the audience walked out of the room and told The Big “I” that they were appalled by Watters’ behaviour, CNN reported.
Rusbuldt’s remarks during the interview weren’t reported, but The Big “I” stressed that it “does not condone racist, sexist, or homophobic statements or behavior.”
In response to a backlash, The Big “I” said it had Rusbuldt relinquish his operational duties immediately following the annual conference and in advance of his retirement in September.
Fox News host Jesse Watters, who is set to be Tucker Carlson’s replacement beginning next month, made an offensive joke questioning the gender of Vice President Kamala Harris at an insurance conference in April, CNN reported Thursday. https://t.co/jIcK0ZWIX8
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 30, 2023
“It is disappointing to see Mr. Rusbuldt end his 37-year career at the Big “I” in this way,” the association said in a statement.
“Much more distressing, however, is the hurt and discomfort so many of our members, partners and staff experienced as a result of his remarks. We do not in any way condone or agree with any of Mr. Rusbuldt’s statements, but we must take full responsibility for them.
“We deeply regret that this incident occurred at an event that is intended to celebrate our organization and its membership. We have been working with our DEI team internally and externally since the event on ways to foster a more inclusive and respectful culture and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
Rusbuldt also apologized to those gathered at the diversity-focused luncheon later that day, CNN reported.
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