Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell thought she had lined up an excellent opportunity to cover the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster, but one of Foster’s stipulations became a deal-breaker.
According to The Guardian, Foster informed Campbell that she could not join him on the 15-hour campaign trip unless she brought a male chaperone along.
Campbell was dumbfounded.
It turns out that, similarly to Vice President Mike Pence, Foster chooses not to keep the company of any woman who is not his wife, Campbell said.
Campbell wrote a story on the situation: “In two phone calls this week, Colton Robison, Foster’s campaign director, said a male colleague would need to accompany this reporter on an upcoming 15-hour campaign trip because they believed the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair.”
When the reporter and her editors agreed that the stipulation was sexist and involved an “unnecessary use” of newsroom resources, deciding she should embark on the trip solo, Foster’s campaign told her she was not allowed to come.
Campbell wrote in her article: “He reiterated that the campaign couldn’t agree unless a male colleague was present – this despite my offering to wear a Mississippi Today press badge in plain view at all times. But Robison insisted that trackers are trying to get any footage that would make the candidate look bad.”
In response to the fiasco, Foster defended his position — meeting both support and condemnation on social media.
“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,” Foster said in a tweet this week.
He tweeted again later: “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.”
Watch Campbell and Foster discuss the issue on CNN: