The Oklahoma Insurance Department’s spokesman said he resigned on Feb. 10 after sending an official email to hundreds of people containing an off-color term for breasts.
Glenn Craven told The Associated Press that he had sent the email and was given the option of resigning or being fired.
“I’ve never run and hidden from anything. When you make a mistake, when you have an error in judgment, you take responsibility,” Craven said.
Insurance Commissioner John Doak had earlier announced the resignation of a state employee but did not name Craven. A spokesman for Doak later said there was nothing to add.
“We really have no new news regarding the situation,” Brant Cale said. “We accepted the resignation and that’s all right now and we’re just trying to get back to work.”
Craven apologized repeatedly for the email that said an insurance commissioner’s award to be given at a tornado preparedness meeting would go to “the girl with the biggest” breasts, using a slang term. The agency sent a second “corrected and authorized” email about 20 minutes later saying the award would be given next month to someone who made outstanding contributions to the insurance industry in tornado preparedness.
Craven said he was typing the email when he “channeled” an episode of the British television program Monty Python in which a similar phrase was used.
“I wondered how they’re going to pick all these people (for awards), and I snickered,” Craven said. “I snickered and typed and it should have never been done. Ridiculous things happen for ridiculous reasons.”
Craven, 45, said the job he held at the Insurance Department for a year was his first job in government. He said he had previously worked at small newspapers in Kansas and North Carolina for 20 years.
The email led the chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, Wallace Collins, to call for the resignation of Doak, a Republican.
“It’s the mentality of Republican leadership that they have no respect for the working men and women,” Collins said. “They seem to be elitist.”
Craven described himself as an “average guy” and said he doesn’t know why the phrase came to mind. He said he may have been distracted after typing the phrase, but has no excuse for not deleting it.
Associated Press writer Sean Murphy contributed to this report.