Several of House Speaker Glen Casada’s former interns, male and female and white and black, are speaking out and disputing recent claims that he tolerated or engaged in racist or sexist comments during their time working in his office. Some of the interns have spoken WSMV Channel 4, but others claim that they have been interviewed by other media who then failed to run stories because they apparently did not support the allegations that Casada or his staff behaved badly around them.
One former Casada intern, Hadley Sintic told WSMV Channel 4 in Nashville that her intern experience“just felt very comfortable, and it was a wonderful really great experience. It kind of made me want to keep working at the Legislature even after college.”
Sintic says not only did she work with Casada but his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, who she described as always very helpful and professional.
Sintic was an intern for Casada in 2016, the same time controversy surrounded former State Rep. Jeremy Durham. “All of the doors were always open, and I never felt uncomfortable,” Sintic told Channel 4. “If any open remarks or jokes would’ve been said I probably would’ve heard it.”
Channel 4 reported that they also spoke with another former female intern for Casada who expressed similar shock at the allegations.
Another former Casada intern is Byron Glenn, who worked during the Winter Semester of 2012 while he was a student at Tennessee State University. Glenn points out that Casada regularly had interns from TSU before and after his own internship, including his group. “Not only did I never experience any subtle or overt racism in the office, I was invited by Glen himself to participate in the weekly Bible study with him and other Legislators, which I did.”
“I’ve seen and experienced racism, and was even stopped and searched in another state at one point for simply ‘driving while black,’ so I know what it is,” Glenn adds. “My dealings with Glen have shown him to be a stand-up guy and the furthest from a racist.”
Glenn has continued to have a relationship with Casada in the years after his internship ended, including his former boss reaching out last year when Glenn and his wife suffered the loss of a child at birth. “In 2011 shortly before I became his intern he sponsored and passed legislation to provide parents who lost a child in birth with a birth certificate,” Glenn notes. “It was God’s hand that my family was blessed to benefit from that legislation ourselves, when neither I or Glen could have foreseen the future.” Glenn and his wife Michelle now have a new healthy baby boy who was born just a few weeks ago.
The connection to the recent media reports regarding Speaker Casada don’t end there. Glenn and another African American friend were in attendance at the Marsha Blackburn Senate event where self-proclaimed social justice warrior Justin Jones and several others disrupted the event, leading to Jones’ arrest. “We were sitting right behind him and one of the other female protesters,” Glenn adds. “Their actions were completely planned, staged and disrespectful — especially during the moment of silence.”
Former Casada Chief of Staff Cade Cothren has denied any improper relationships with interns and specifically denied soliciting sex from any of them. Media reports have emphasized allegations involving Republican legislators, some dating back 30 years. Those same reports have ignored the substantiated allegations against a black Democrat legislator, Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville), that occurred during the legislative session that just ended. Staples was removed from the House Ethics Committee but has not been removed from the legislature for his behavior.