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US Ambassador to New Zealand to be More 'Culturally Aware'

US Ambassador to New Zealand to be More 'Culturally Aware'

US ambassador Scott Brown on Wednesday blamed "politics" for an inquiry into his behavior at an event in Samoa where he told guests they looked attractive and a food server she could make hundreds of dollars in the USA service industry.

The second comment that sparked a complaint came later, Brown said, during a celebratory meal for about 250 people that was preceded by ceremonial dances.

Brown said the official complaints related to comments he had made at a party in the Samoan capital, Apia, where he told attendees they looked "beautiful" and could make hundreds of dollars working in the hospitality industry in the US.

Brown says he attended the event with his wife on his first day in Samoa and said he'd been complementing the well-dressed guests as they walked in.

"And as a result of that I was told that, "you know, listen you're not Scott Brown from Ryan, New Hampshire any more, you're an ambassador and you have to be culturally aware of different cultures, and different sensitivities" and I'm always welcoming that kind of advice", he continued.

He said there had been some cultural misunderstandings, but also that many people at the event didn't like Trump and he suspected there might be some political motivation behind the complaints.

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There has been no comment from the State Department. They all looked great.

"Politics is a bloodsport back home", Brown said, "and at this event, it was a - there were a lot of people that didn't like the president. Probably not." Gail Huff, his wife, went on to say that both she and her husband would be careful about what they say and how it's perceived.

"We walked in and everyone was dressed to the nines". And apparently somebody took offence to that. "Sadly, it's politics. It is what it is".

In the interview, Brown said that he was eager to be upfront about the complaints about his comments in July, saying that his response to learning about the complaints had been: "Great, let's get it out in the open. Fine. I did say it, Gail and I both said that, absolutely".

US Ambassador Scott Brown with his wife Gail Huff-Brown speaking with Stuff at the US Embassy in Wellington on Wednesday.

Brown did not realize at the time the comments were offensive, and has been told since by his staff that he is not the "Scott Brown from Rye, N.H. anymore".


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