Ohio State University has released an audio recording apparently of Jonathan Waters, recently dismissed director of the school’s famous marching band, hollering obscenities at a student who Waters reportedly said “disrespected” him, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Waters was dismissed Thursday after a two-month investigation determined he knew about and failed to stop a “sexualized” culture of rituals. Investigators found students were pressured to march in their underwear, sing lewd songs and perform sexually themed stunts to earn often explicit nicknames.
A 23-page investigation report indicates that last September the student was called into Waters’ office, along with associate director of the band Christopher Hoch, the Dispatch reported, adding that investigators noted a conflict during band practice.
Here’s the audio reportedly of that meeting. (Warning: Explicit language):
After the man identified as Waters asked the student to identify him and Hoch by their job titles, the tirade began.
“And you f***ing better realize who you’re dealing with!” the man identified as Waters yelled. “We told you to do something on the field and you outright disrespected him and me. Now this will not stand. We tell you to stand on your head, and as drum major you’ll stand on your goddamn head if you want to be drum major! Do you understand?”
More from the Dispatch:
Hoch and Waters both try to explain why the student is being disciplined, but the recording doesn’t make clear what spurred the meeting. The meeting apparently ended after Waters again raised his voice and cursed at the student.
“You ever do that again after we’ve given you a direct goddamn order and you’re done!” the man identified as Waters yelled. “Do you understand?”
“Yes, I do,” the student replied.
“That’s it,” the man identified as Waters said. “Goodbye.”
The student recorded the audio without Waters’ knowledge and gave it to Ohio State on July 9, the Dispatch reported, more than a month after the university began its investigation.
Waters initially told investigators, “in all my years I’ve never yelled, screamed or cursed” at a student, according to a report Ohio State released on Thursday, the Dispatch noted.
But during a second interview, Waters said he might have raised his voice on occasion. He then admitted to sometimes cursing in front of students, but never at them, the Dispatch noted, citing the report.
An attorney for Waters said the ousted marching band director has become a scapegoat for behavior that occurred before his leadership and he’ll fight to clear his name.
David Axelrod added that his client had worked to change the band’s culture and chose not to resign because he didn’t believe he had acted improperly.
Waters led what’s known to fans as “The Best Damn Band in the Land” since 2012. Videos of the band’s halftime shows draw millions of viewers on YouTube.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.