A television viewer who was offended by the sight of a pregnant sports reporter on air has apologized after a rant published in New Zealand’s TV Guide went viral.
John Rook, a 69-year-old New Zealander, sent a letter to TV Guide about TVNZ presenter Jenny-May Coffin, who is expecting twins, calling her an eyesore and suggesting she be taken off the air.
In his letter, the father of three wrote, “I have no problem with seeing pregnant women in normal situations or places, but to have them remain on TV in a state which I feel is embarrassing and an eyesore? It’s time to replace them.” He added, “Who is responsible for allowing a sports presenter in a very pregnant state to remain on screen?” and asked the station to use “common sense” about allowing her to work in front of the camera.
The letter has sparked support for Coffin, with Twitter users rallying to defend the soon-to-be mom. “Get a life,” @madinnz tweeted in a comment directed at Rook. “I blame the TV Guide for publishing this monumental piece of stupidity and entangling the media in a pile on,” tweeted @andrewpaulwood. And Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service writer Melissa Matheson penned an opinion piece Monday. “Pregnant women are not invalids,” she wrote. “Yes, some have complicated pregnancies and need to take things easy. But that’s not everyone. And it’s not your place, Guy Sitting On The Couch Watching Women Work And Complaining About It, to tell them what they can and can’t do while they’re growing a human being inside them.”
On Tuesday, the New Zealand Herald reported that Rook issued an apology to Coffin and that she accepted. “She looks forward to putting a line under this issue and focusing on her work,” a spokeswoman told the Herald.
Coffin, who goes by her married name Clarkson on Facebook, expressed gratitude for her supporters Sunday, posting, “As a heavily pregnant woman, I struggle with my own demons about my body changing shape but I choose to stay in front of the camera to encourage others to be proud of the job that we are doing — creating life.”
According to the Otago Daily Times, TVNZ says it supports women who work during pregnancy and also their return to work. And TV Guide posted on its Facebook page, “We believe Jenny-May Clarkson is an excellent sports presenter, and the fact that she’s pregnant has no impact on her ability to do her job.”
Most important, it sounds like Rook has done some self-reflection — sort of. “I shouldn’t have said, ‘It looks embarrassing, and it’s an eyesore.’ I wish her well,” he told the New Zealand Herald. “We’ve gone through childbirth, and it’s the best thing on earth. All I wanted to know was, who was responsible at TVNZ and at what stage they should stop presenting onscreen?” He also admitted that he was “out of touch.”
Photo: ONE News