Haughton defiant after 'love breast' comment triggers backlash

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Haughton defiant after 'love breast' comment triggers backlash

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Sunday Observer staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 06, 2019

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Opposition Senator Dr Andre Haughton took to social media Friday evening in an attempt to rebuff criticisms about his foot-in-mouth moment in Parliament earlier in the day when, during a presentation in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, he declared his love for female breasts.

“As a child growing up I always love breast; my mother always say I'm a breast man. Even when I was one year and two months I was still drinking breast milk. I am a breast man. When asked, 'which part of the female you prefer?', I prefer the breast,” said Dr Haughton in his address.

After his remarks, Twitter users lambasted the senator for making a health issue a matter of his personal preference for the female body part.

“Crass!” one user tweeted.

“Very inappropriate. Way to take a serious issue and make it about you,” another Twitter user posted.

“Remarkably shameless and utterly shameful that he felt comfortable with a not at all funny, crass, sexist comment that trivialises and sexualises a killer of women, and men, in this of all months, or at any time ever for that matter,” tweeted another user.

Others sought to explain to the member of the Upper House why his comments were “insensitive and inappropriate” to breast cancer victims and survivors.

“Some women going through breast cancer treatment and/or who have survived it face serious mental health challenges, partly due to loss in sexual confidence due to breast(s) loss and scar tissue left behind,” one female Twitter user wrote.

“You professing that you are a 'breast man' in such circumstances reinforces notions that a woman's sexual desirability is primarily tied to their breast(s). So please have some awareness on how your stmt (statement) add to and/or trigger survivors as it relates to this issue,” she added.

One male user called on Senator Haughton to apologise. “At this moment, you should be apologising for the sexual undertones of your comment. It was unnecessary & only detracts from your presentation. We don't care about your sexual preferences. Using women's bodies to bond with other men is juvenile,” the male user tweeted.

But instead of apologising, Haughton added fuel to the fire when he tried to justify his statement by tweeting:

“The mammary gland (breast) is the defining feature of all mammals, it is the critical feature that sustain and maintain life among us humans, children who don't suckle on breast are at a disadvantage... so everyone in this breast cancer month should embrace and love breast,” Haughton posted after the backlash.

The Opposition caretaker for the St James West Central constituency also made jabs at the media which he criticised for not highlighting the essence of his presentation which had to do with the use of marijuana to cure breast cancer.

“Of all the things I said about us exploring ganja research to cure breast cancer, all that resonated in your mind is that I love breast, all mammals, male and female, should love breast because it maintains and sustain our lives! I think it's poor journalism on your part,” he said in a second tweet.

This ignited a fresh uproar on Twitter, attracting the voices of other public figures.

St Andrew West Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn chided Haughton and insisted that he apologise.

“[When] it's Prostate Cancer Month, what will we all love? Apologise, it was inappropriate, and stop making a fool of yourself,” said Cuthbert Flynn in a reply tweet.

Media personality and Profile host Fae Ellington pleaded with the senator in a reply to his tweet: “Please don't do this.”

In similar vein, others sought to remind the senator of what could befall him, a bright, young and promising politician, if he could not admit to and apologise for his wrong.

“I don't think many of our younger folk know how to gracefully step away from, much less apologise for inappropriate or improper statements or behaviour. The approach seems to be, dig in your heels and make it seem that it's the audience whose understanding is limited. Sad,” said one user in a follow-up to Ellington's tweet.

Making reference to the loss suffered by Opposition People's National Party candidate Damion Crawford in the Portland Eastern by-election in April this year, the Twitter used said: “Andre needs to take note of Damion's electoral performance despite having excellent ideas & working hard. He should also remember that the constitution requires the minister of finance to be an elected member of the House. There's a reason we have two ears but one mouth.”

Crawford had attracted heavy flak for campaign comments he made in reference to his female opponent, the Jamaica Labour Party's Ann-Marie Vaz, that were described as sexist.

Some Twitter users, however, thought that the responses to Haughton's remarks were much ado about nothing. One person tweeted: “Senator just trying to break the ice on such a sensitive matter n d crowd goes wild. Social media these days allow us to blow any n everything out of context, literally. I'm sure Dr Haughton never meant to be interpreted in the way that the majority is interpreting him.”

Yet another Twitter user posted: “Mount Salem has you back Doctor.”


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