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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019

Female reporter told she needs male chaperone to interview Republican gubernatorial candidate

“This is my truck, and in my truck, we go by my rules and that’s my rule,” republican Robert Foster said.

A MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICAN gubernatorial candidate has defended his decision to deny a female reporter’s request to interview him on his campaign trip unless she brought a male colleague with her. 

Larrison Campbell, a reporter with Mississippi Today, has reported that in recent weeks, in an attempt to better inform readers about candidates in the upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary, the news website asked to shadow the contenders seeking the nomination. 

One candidate, state Republican Robert Foster, declined the interview. 

Campbell reported that in two phone calls, Foster’s campaign director said a male colleague would need to accompany her because of how it could be viewed. 

Speaking to CNN following the decision, Foster explained his decision:

I didn’t want to end up in a situation where me and Ms Campbell were alone for an extended period of time throughout that 15- or 16-hour day, and so out of precaution, I wanted to have her bring someone with her – a male colleague.

“The other thing I think it’s important to point out is that this is my truck, and in my truck, we go by my rules and that’s my rule.”

Also speaking during the CNN interview, Campbell said the situation amounts to “sexism”. 

“Look, we got to call this what it is: when a woman isn’t given access to the same things that a man would be given access to, it’s sexism,” she said.

When asked if the need to exercise precaution was because he didn’t trust Campbell or himself, Foster said he doesn’t trust “the perception that the world when they see things and they don’t ask the questions, they don’t look to find out the truth”.

“Perception is reality in this world, and I don’t want to give anybody the opinion that I’m doing something that I should not be doing,” he told CNN. 

Larrison questioned Foster on why the “onus” was on her to bring someone with her to the interview, rather than Foster bringing someone himself. 

Foster said his rule is “very professional”. He noted that the late evangelist Billy Graham and Vice President Mike Pence also maintained the same position, CNN reported. 

The Billy Graham rule is a practice among some male evangelical Protestant leaders where they avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married. 

“I’m a married man and I made a vow to my wife, and part of the agreement that we’ve also made throughout our marriage is that we would not be alone with someone of the opposite sex throughout our marriage, and that is a vow that I have with my wife,” Foster said.

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