A female journalist is calling out a politician for “sexism” after he denied her access to his campaign trail.
Robert Foster, who is a Republican running for governor in Mississippi, said that Larrison Campbell, a reporter for Mississippi Today, could only accompany him if she was accompanied by a male.
Campbell tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she has a “long-standing working relationship” with Foster and has interviewed him multiple times in the past. She reached out to him directly over the weekend to ask if she could shadow him for the trail and he directed her to Colton Robison, his campaign director.
“I wasn’t surprised when he referred me to his campaign director, that’s standard practice,” she says. “The campaign director was interested in the story, they were excited about it. We set a date...to shadow the candidate as he made a ton of campaign stops. It was going to be a long, fifteen hour day”
However, Campbell said that Robinson had one condition. “At the very end of it, the campaign director came at me with this caveat,” she says. “‘By the way, I have one small request — can you have a male colleague accompany you?’”
According to Campbell, she took the request to her editor, and the two of them concluded that there was no reason she should need “someone to chaperone” her.
“I spoke to my editor, and we were both like ‘this is sexism,’” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “No, we’re not going to do it.”
She called Robinson back on Tuesday and told him her decision. She assumed that they’d reach a compromise to give her access without a male chaperone.
“I thought there’d be some wiggle room,” the reporter says. “Like wear press badge at all times, don’t stand where you can be photographed with him, or make sure you stay by the campaign director’s side.”
Both sides refused to budge. “They drew a very bright line and unfortunately neither one of us was willing to go over it,” she says.
Campbell believes that politics is still a “boy’s club.”
“It has been for many years, and it’s changing now, but a woman is still seen like she doesn’t belong,” she says. “The ‘boy’s club’ of politics sees women as sexual objects before they see them as a reporter, or attorney, or person.”
However, Foster clapped back on Twitter, claiming that he denied her access out of respect for his wife. His tweet reads that he was following the “Billy Graham Rule,” which has recently been called the “Mike Pence Rule” to avoid the appearance of an extramarital affair, which could be a smear on his campaign.
Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the “Billy Graham Rule”, which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife. https://t.co/5tjH2x2g65— Robert Foster (@RobertFoster4MS) July 10, 2019
As I anticipated, the liberal left lost their minds over the fact I choose not to be alone with another woman. They can’t believe, that even in 2019, someone still values their relationship with their wife and upholds their Christian Faith. #msgov #mselex— Robert Foster (@RobertFoster4MS) July 10, 2019
While Campbell understands that he has a small, grassroots campaign and doesn’t have a large staff, she reiterates that it’s unacceptable for people to see women as sexual objects instead of people, and even if he had supplied a chaperone, it would still be sexist.
“What we’re saying here is men are asking women to go the extra mile because they don’t want to do the work required of dismantling their own belief system that woman are sexual objects.” she says.
Robert Foster did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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