Ken Starr, the recently ousted president of Baylor, appeared to concede in an on-camera interview that he had seen a former student’s email alleging she had been raped, before a Republican public relations expert interrupted him mid-answer and asked the local television station not to include that portion in its segment.
The interview with Waco’s KWTX was shot Wednesday and began getting national media attention Friday morning.
Starr announced Wednesday that he would resign as chancellor of the school, after he had been demoted from his position as president due to the way school officials failed to address several claims of sexual assault made against members of the football team.
During the KWTX interview, he said that he stepped down in an attempt to promote transparency, noting that the school’s board of regents only released a summary of an outside investigation into the way the school handled claims
“That’s why I resigned, as a matter of conscience, so I can call on the board of regents, who are good people and love Baylor, but they have continued to follow a policy that I had to follow as an official. But I urge them toward transparency, transparency,” he said.
But when he was confronted with an email from a rape victim and asked whether he ever saw it, the interview went off the rails.
KWTX’s Julie Hays, citing a victim who told ESPN that she sent an email about her sexual assault to Starr, asked Starr if he ever saw the email.
“I honestly may have. I’m not denying that I saw it,” Starr responded.
According to KWTX, when Starr gave his response, the interview was interrupted by Merrie Spaeth, a prominent Republican public relations operative who accompanied Starr to the interview. Spaeth had advised Starr during the impeachment proceedings of Bill Clinton.
Spaeth asked KWTX not to include that portion of the interview. When the station’s news director refused, Spaeth pulled Starr away from the interview, according to KWTX.
When Starr and Spaeth returned, Spaeth asked for Starr to answer the question again so that it would not be “misedited.”
“All I’m going to say is I have no recollection of that,” Starr then answered for the second time. He then turned toward Spaeth to ask, “Is that OK?”
“Don’t look at me, look at her,” Spaeth replied.
“I honestly have no recollection of seeing such an email and I believe that I would remember seeing such an email,” Starr then said in his third attempt to answer the question. “The president of the university gets lots of emails. I don’t even see a lot of the emails that come into the the office of the president. I have no recollection of it — none.”
Spaeth later apologized for interrupting the interview, according to KWTX.
Watch the video via KWTX: