UC Berkeley regent asked actress if he could hold her breasts, may step down

Demands grew louder on Friday for the resignation of a University of California regent who last year asked an actress at his podcast company if could hold her breasts, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Norman Pattiz, 74, a member of the University of California regents and founder of the Los Angeles-based podcast network PodcastOne, has apologized for his remarks to actress Heather McDonald in 2016.

He is reportedly undecided if he will step down from his regent position. Pattiz, who has been a regent for 16 years, told the paper that he would have considered retiring sooner had the year-old controversy not resurfaced.   

“I certainly don’t like the idea of retiring under a cloud,” he said. 

At the time of the alleged misconduct, McDonald had been hosting a podcast called “Juicy Scoop,” under the PodcastOne network.

In a tape released by McDonald, Pattiz can be heard interrupting McDonald while she was recording an advertisement about memory foam brassieres. On the recording, listened to by The Chronicle, she stumbled on her words.

“You’re making me nervous now,” she told Pattiz. “Let me do one more.”

“Wait a minute,” Pattiz said, “Can I hold your breasts?”

“No,” McDonald says.

“Would that help?” Pattiz says, adding that his hands “are memory foam.”

McDonald released the recording of her interaction with Pattiz a month later. Pattiz confirmed his voice on the recording and apologized, the Huffington Post reported.  

Demands for Pattiz’ resignation coincide with a cracking down of sexual harassment in Hollywood, the media, and the university. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and two other regents have questioned whether the UC Board of Regents has dealt too lightly with Pattiz, according to The Chronicle. 

Currently, California’s Constitution gives the governor the power to appoint regents to 12-year terms, but there is no provision granting the governor authority to remove regents. A UC labor union has recently proposed a state amendment to give authority to the state legislature to remove a regent, The Chronicle reported. 

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