San Antonio fire department chief is under review after posing for photos while eating sushi off a nude model.
The photos surfaced on social media, prompting Chief Charles Hood to issue an apology.
In the photos, Chief Hood kneels next to a flower-adorned table, where a naked woman lays with pieces of sushi on her body.
The incident happened while Chief Hood—who wasn't in uniform—was attending a firefighter's birthday party.
In a statement, the chief apologized for the incident, saying:
"I attended a firefighter's 50th birthday party…"
"I certainly didn't intend to offend anyone, and if I did, I sincerely apologize."
Despite the apology, Hood defended his actions, calling it 'more or less a family event.'
"You walk in the front door, and there's a sushi lady there that I guess is a business. So I stopped and posed and took a picture. That's it."
"I think the majority of people in this community know my character. I'm a man of integrity."
"And it's just a picture. It was more or less a family event. So it was just a [misinterpretation]."
The host, Shody Henshaw, a firefighter who has battled colon cancer for years, defended Hood. He maintained the event was a beautiful, classy party.'
He also said none of the guests ate sushi off the woman's body.
Instead, a server handed out sushi nearby and barred anyone from touching the woman.
"They were trying to honor the Japanese culture."
However, City Manager Erik Walsh denounced the photo and called out for a review.
"We all have to be aware that our actions outside of the workplace… reflect on our entire organization."
"I have directed the City Attorney to conduct a review of all the facts and circumstances involving the photograph and the event. Because this is a serious issue."
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also said he's in support of a review on the incident.
"The scene in that photo is counter to the standards and values that we expect from the city of San Antonio organization."
"I am supportive of the city manager's call for an investigation."
"What was in that photo is clearly counter to what we expect from the values of this organization."
The use of a nude female as a platter for sushi is a Japanese practice called nyotaimori.
While its origins are unclear, some academic studies trace it back to the premodern samurai era.
In today's society, it has been criticized for objectifying and degrading women. Some places have even banned it.