“There is nothing remotely salacious about the texts,” he wrote.
There were, according to The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica, at least 18 written text messages from Mr. Clarkson asking the decades-younger woman to visit his home. In his resignation letter, he said he extended the invitations to the woman’s children, “which she politely declined.”
Mr. Clarkson sent one text message inviting the woman over to his home and included a smiley face and wine glass emoji. She laughingly declined (“Haha”) and noted a doctor’s recommendation to stay “6ft apart,” apparently referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
Later, Mr. Clarkson texted to say “And I’m virus free fingers crossed” and included an emoji of the hand gesture. He followed up with another message: “I mean cross my heart” which included an emoji of a red heart, “haha.”
In another exchange, Mr. Clarkson invited the woman to join him, texting, “Come on over and join me haha” followed by two emojis of bare feet. The woman replied, “I wish!!!! Haha,” to which he responded, “Just say ‘the AG told me too’ haha. That’ll go far” and a smiley face emoji. When the woman declined again, saying, “Haha” with several exclamation points, “No waay! I love my job,” Mr. Clarkson pressed ahead: “You can come work at Law haha.”
Mr. Clarkson also sought to explain his repeated encouragements for physical contact with the woman as a byproduct of their workplace rapport.
“In our texts,” he wrote, “we exchanged innocent mutual endearments between us in words and emojis. On several occasions, this person initiated a friendly hug when I came to her work place, and I reflexively gave her a tiny peck of a kiss on top of her head.”
Mr. Clarkson acknowledged that the messages were wrong to send “due to the disparity in our workplace rank” and that he “should have maintained a more distanced and professional relationship.”