‘Humiliating’ treatment of only woman interviewed for TBI director draws protests

Leaders of some women’s groups are protesting the treatment of Marjorie Quin – the only woman considered for nomination as new director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – when she was interviewed by the TBI Nominating Commission, according to Nashville news media. Quin is a retired TBI agent who specialized in handling sex trafficking cases.


“It’s a watershed moment when we say it is not acceptable to openly treat women differently,” said Derri Smith, co-founder of the Tennessee Anti-Slavery Alliance.

Smith was present last week as a group of five men — who make up the state’s TBI nominating commission — interviewed nine finalists to be the next TBI director. They sent the names of three men to the governor.

But it was how they treated the lone female candidate that raised some eyebrows.

… Quin was berated by one commission member when she suggested that all is not well inside the TBI — and she was accused of acting like a “dictator.”

Members of the Alliance say they’re not pushing for any particular candidate, but they’ve let the governor know that women expect a level playing field.

“Ideally, I would like to see him make a decision to have — I guess, if it was in court I would say — a retrial, to go ahead and have new proceedings in which every candidate is considered on a level playing field,” Smith said.

General Sessions Judge Lynda Jones also urged lawmakers to make sure there is at least one female on every such committee to make sure women are fairly represented.

Further from The Tennessean, also quoting Smith:

“By the time it was over, I wondered if I had been transported back 50 years or more,” Smith said during a press conference held at End Slavery Tennessee‘s Nashville headquarters. “While male candidates were treated with great deference, before, during and after the hearing, the lone female candidate, retired TBI assistant special agent in charge, Marjorie Quin was subjected to a humiliating brutal attack and treated with inequity.

“In contrast, with the male candidates, the committee members enjoyed a good ol’ boy, back-slapping kind of conversation,” she said. 

… Smith said hundreds of people have called or written the governor asking him to address the proceedings and hopefully call for new proceedings.

“First of all, the selection itself – five white men, I think in their seventies, doesn’t seem very representative of our state and then just the inequity, with which the one female candidate was treated, and we asked him if he would consider reviewing the proceedings,” she said. “Ideally, I would like to see him make a decision to have a retrial, to go ahead and have new proceedings in which every candidate is considered in a level playing field.”

But Haslam explained to a gaggle of reporters last Thursday that he does not appoint the nominating commission, but instead they are appointed by the speakers of the two chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly and a designated appointee. He said his job is to take the three names they select, then choose the candidate from there.

Note: Previous post HERE.

5 Responses to ‘Humiliating’ treatment of only woman interviewed for TBI director draws protests

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    How about just selecting the best candidate, no matter race, sex, ….

    • Avatar
      Tennessee Jed says:

      Agree James. Select the best candidate no matter race, sex…. The problem here seems to be that the speakers of the TGA aren’t selecting the best candidates to comprise the nominating committee

  • Avatar
    Henry Walker says:

    The link to “previous post HERE” does not work. Where can I read about what Quinn said to the selection committee and Vaughn’s response ?

  • Avatar
    Derri Smith says:

    I said repeatedly that I was speaking primarily not to change the past but to change the future. I did say, in response to an ‘ideal world’ question that I’d like the governor to review the proceedings. I did NOT say I wanted him to throw out the three mail candidates.(I am also well aware that the Governor does not appoint the committee.)

    I specifically said we support and respect TBI, are not criticizing the candidates, simply addressing the inequity of the way the lone woman candidate was treated. If men treat others like this, and we do nothing, nothing changes.

    Derri Smith (quoted above)

    • Tom Humphrey
      Tom Humphrey says:

      Thank you for the comment, Ms. Smith. The headline, which originally said there was a ‘call’ for rejection of the nominees, though not stating that it came from you, has been revised to eliminate any confusion on the point.

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