“We understand that we are in a politically correct world these days.”
Cheerleading coaches in a Wisconsin town honored members of their squad last March with various superlatives, including “most improved” and “hardest worker.”
But when they joked about the girls’ physical attributes, some of the mothers at the annual banquet in Kenosha were outraged. The offending awards included:
Big Boobie: Won by a girl was said to have said risked a concussion when she ran because of her “enormous boobs.”
Big Booty: “We love her butt. Everybody loves her butt,” the awarding coach said of the recipient, in a video clip from the ceremony.
String Bean: Which went to a freshman who was the thinnest girl on the squad.
WATCH: Woman Attacks Man in MAGA Hat and Gets Detained by ICE
A few of the parents in the 100-person crowd were upset enough by the awards to complain to Kenosha Unified School District administrators.
In an email to Tremper High Schools principal Steve Knecht, former track coach Patti Hupp wrote that “this is extremely degrading to women.”
“If my daughter would have won one of those awards, I would’ve absolutely been rushing the stage,” a mom of one of the cheerleaders told The New York Times, which broke the story. “It was just so wrong, in so many ways.”
Feminist moms on the internet later joined in, with the Scary Mommy blog deeming the awards “repulsive” and “disgusting.”
But Tremper cheerleading coach Patti Uttech brushed off the criticism.
“We understand that we are in a politically correct world these days, but we do like to have fun and keep thing on the lighter side,” Uttech also wrote to Knecht.
In an email to administrators, she said that the Big Boobie and Big Booty awards were “a huge hit and truly lots of laughs and fun” and were not meant to hurt anyone. “Their parents thought it was the funniest thing,” she said.
As proof, Uttech forwarded the principal an email from the Big Boobie girl’s parent, who wrote that the girl appreciated the award and “is not shy about the fact that she earned it fair and square.”
The Times talked to other girls who said they were uncomfortable with the awards.
In May, the head of the district’s human resources department asked Uttech to apologize to the cheerleaders and resign as coach. Uttech emailed the team to say she was sorry if she upset them or their families, but she refused to step down.
WATCH: New Footage Of Savage Berkeley TPUSA Assault
Frustrated, one mom contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, complaining that she wanted “these girls to be treated with respect. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.”
The civil rights watchdog spent a year investigating the allegations, which allowed it to conclude that the awards had first been given out in 2017, and at that event, a cheerleader with brown hair was given a blonde wig for being “a ditzy girl.”
The group also accused the cheerleading coaches of continuing to make inappropriate comments to the girls, including using “harassing language towards cheerleaders during practices.” It said the district was enabling sexual harassment and was thereby violating federal nondiscrimination and equal protection laws.
“Unfortunately, the cheerleading awards are not an isolated incident,” the ACLU determined. “They are part of a broader culture of body shaming, victim blaming, and harassment throughout KUSD.”
Parents complained that cheer coaches were giving students awards for having large breasts, a "big booty," and for being skinny. The principal responded that coaches were "just joking around."https://t.co/puLaUbjCMz
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 20, 2019
On Feb. 14, the ACLU sent a letter demanding that the district discipline staff involved in the awards and implement harassment training for all district employees – otherwise it threatened a lawsuit.
Last Wednesday, a day after The Times published its story, Tremper agreed to stop giving out the gag awards. The other change to the ceremony this year is that parents won’t be invited.
It was not the first concession the ACLU has forced from the district. Administrators recently dropped a ban on girls wearing yoga pants, leggings, and tank tops after a battle with the group. The district also pulled a video from a high school health class last December after parents complained it insinuated female victims were to blame for sexual assaults.
The Times’s report was its latest seeking to reveal alleged mistreatment of cheerleaders, mostly in the NFL. The series is part of a larger effort by the newspaper – which in 2017 helped bring down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and launch the #MeToo movement – to expose sexual misconduct against women in the workplace.
WATCH: CNN: Worst Thing Smollett Did Was Make SJW’s Look Stupid