Marcos Bretón

Want the worst way to handle a racist, sexist email? Just ask Noah Phillips

How many of us have a racist older relative we love but who can be embarrassing and offensive and seem downright nutty? Many of us would raise our hands to that question. Noah Phillips, the Democrat running for District Attorney, certainly could.

This week, it was revealed that an older relative – a "70-year-old uncle" – sent Phillips a racist, sexist, offensive email to his work account. Noah's place of work when he got the email on Feb 17, 2016 was the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.

How bad was this email? It's really bad. It makes stupid, disparaging, racist, sexist, cringe-inducing comments about Latinas, Jewish women, "Anglo/Saxon" women, Chinese women, Irish women and "Arab" women. The "Mexican" woman is wearing a sombrero and the description, in part, describes a first date as "getting drunk on Tequila" and having sex in the back of her car. By the second date, "she is pregnant," it reads.

With Irish women, the email read: " You both get blind drunk and have sex." With Arab women: "You are shot dead on the street and your (expletive) are feed to the goats. No third date!" The punchline? "Don't you just love the Irish?"

OK, Phillips might have instantly deleted the email, called his uncle and said, "Dude, you can't send that kind of stuff to my work email. Here is my home email." But he didn't. He told his uncle that the email "Was work appropriate and for that matter appropriate anywhere."


Strike one.

When asked about the email by Bee reporter Darrell Smith, Phillips would neither cop to the exchange, nor apologize. He kept repeating some lame excuse of having his emails "hacked." What does that mean? I have no idea. But he might have said, "You know? I apologize. My uncle sent me that. He didn't mean any harm, It's clearly not what I believe but I love my uncle and didn't want to scold him. I should have handled it better. It's on me." But he didn't.

Strike two.

Instead, Phillips made some comment about how the "crude and callous" law enforcement culture made him do it. "Sorry to say I was a part of it until I realized the impact this culture has on our justice system as a whole," Phillips said in a statement.

Strike three. You're out.

The system made him do it? Yikes. If Phillips melts down over something as random as a racist email sent to him by his uncle, what would happen when he had to face a real crisis? Herein lies why most influential local Democrats can't get behind this guy, no matter how much they might want to.

Phillips email page tear
Noah Phillips replied to his uncle John Phillips that an email containing racist and sexist jokes about women was “work appropriate.”
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