Escambia County

Underhill: ‘Vagina hat’ comment creates a stir

August 21, 2017

Escambia Commission chairman Doug Underhill created a social media controversy when he asked one of his critics whether she was “one of those people walking around wearing a vagina hat and screaming in the streets.”

Underhill had taken to Facebook to respond to the Aug. 14 Transit Town Hall, where 430 people spoke out in favor of Emerald Coast Transit Authority. He described ECAT as one of the “sacred cows of government handouts.” He said the attendees at that town hall were merely fighting “hard to keep their seat at the trough.”

When his statements were challenged, the commission chairman replied, “Twelve out of 22 bus routes run 10 or fewer riders per hour. The $13M system only collects $1M in revenue. It is funded with a gas tax that was levied on the people without their consent.”

When Jacquita Stokes-Dykes fired back with “Lies! ” the District 2 county commissioner said he was stating “hard cold facts” from the Escambia County Mass Transit Advisory Committee report.

“You scream, ‘Lies!!’ Are you one of those people walking around wearing a vagina hat and screaming in the streets?” he asked Stokes-Dykes. “Is it really that hard to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you?”

Over the weekend men and women came to the defense of the African-American female. They commented on Facebook that they were offended that a county commissioner would make such a statement.

Inweekly contacted Stokes-Dykes, who said Underhill’s comment shocked and disappointed her.

“I felt it was very inappropriate and a bit sexist,” she said. “We all elect officials into office with the understanding that they will carry class and have an unbiased opinion even if the person doesn’t agree with them.”

Underhill appeared to miss the point of the criticism.

“All of the crap you see going on here. Nothing but tactics designed to make me stop going after the liberal sacred cow of public transportation,” he wrote on Facebook.

He argued that the county should fire First Transit, the company that runs the bus service.

Underhill wrote, “Many of our routes are wasteful. The management team needs to be fired. It is a government service that should be done by government employees. That’s what we should be talking about, not vagina hats.”

As more people questioned whether it was Commissioner Underhill who made the “vagina hat” comment, he responded that he was using “the exact term used in our mainstream press for the actions of liberals in the marches against Trump.”

“Yep, that is me, and I standby every word of it,” he wrote. “Liberals, sheesh. They can wear offensive costumes in public and expect respect, but if someone calls it what it is, you flip out.”

But was Stokes-Dykes ever screaming in the streets wearing a “vagina hat” costume?

No. She told Inweekly, “I’ve never wore such a thing.”

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  • JOY KRISTIN August 21, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Doug Underhill’s attitude and poor choice of words is a disgrace to his district.
    I regret voting for him.
    Alan McMillian has my vote and I will be volunteering with his campaign.

  • Doug Underhill August 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Jeez. I’m pretty sure this is some of that fabricated leftist outrage we have come to see so often. That term was used extensively by the press, lefty outlets used slang terms for women’s body parts…but it doesn’t warrant a peep from these citizens until I mention it? Come on, Rick, call this what it is. Diversion tactics. “Women’s March? It was an anti Trump March, and most women I know were offended by the stunt.

  • Patti Maxwell August 21, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I am the one who Doug Underhill was attempting to shame and embarrass with the “vagina” hat question. I commented on his post and my profile picture is of me and my daughter wearing “vagina” hats. I rarely go back to read comments, but I had a lot of friends who texted me to tell me what the misogynist, Mr. Underhill wrote. Unfortunately, Ms Stokes-Dykes was caught in the crossfire of his cliché rhetoric. If you go back and read the thread, you’ll see the full sequence of events.

  • Solomon August 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    The Commission has surely regressed since Mr. Underhill took on the role of Chairman. Instructive to see that he thinks so little of the right of the people to assemble, and feels the need to insult them. Even more enlightening that he considers a knitted representation of a uterus to be offensive. Snowflake!

  • Sharon Gibb August 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Commissioner, if you want to keep low wage earners off of welfare, you need to keep the buses running for them. Most of them Can barely afford shelter. The working poor cannot afford automobiles, Insurance, or gasoline.
    Now, go wash your mouth out with soap.

    • Ames August 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      A minimum wage worker in the US can afford a one bedroom apartment in only 12 COUNTIES in the United States, and Escambia County FL is not one of those counties. The Escambia County Commission needs to fix that instead of standing around watching parades 😐

  • Ames August 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Well, now you know what lives in his head. He has revealed that he is not competent to serve in a position that influences public infrastructure, public service, or rules and regulations that support a community of citizens that seeks to be informed and respectful of the lives and needs of citizens from all walks of life, and as a public servant to set an example of civil behavior. His glaringly obvious bias toward his opposing political party in and of itself reveals that he is unqualified for the position that he now holds. He deserves nothing less that to live only among his like-minded folk. Crude, rude, maladjusted.

  • Sharyn Minnig August 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

    “But was Stokes-Dykes ever screaming in the streets wearing a “vagina hat” costume?
    No.”

    Why does that even matter if she was at the march or not? Underhill was dismissing the entire Woman’s March and movement in his comment, but SHE’s the one having difficulty discussing. He reverted to name calling in seconds!

    “Yep, that is me, and I standby every word of it,” he wrote. “Liberals, sheesh. They can wear offensive costumes in public and expect respect, but if someone calls it what it is, you flip out.” Doug Underhill is an ass.

  • Lars August 21, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Underhill is my commissioner and I have generally been impressed with his performance. But with this comment and his recent reversal on Confederate symbols, I can only conclude that he will soon be seeking some other elective office in the area. He seems to think he needs to broaden his appeal to the Matt Gaetz wing of the local electorate. Well done.

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