Mississippi Politician Says Female Reporter Needs Male Chaperone

July 11, 2019 - 6:08 pm

A male candidate for governor in Mississippi has refused to be interviewed by a female journalist unless she brings along a male colleague.

Mississippi Today journalist Larrison Campbell said she had requested to accompany Republican candidate Robert Foster on a “ride along” during a campaign trip ahead of the Aug. 6 primary, but was denied because she is a woman.

A spokesman Foster says they're worried that spending time alone with Campbell could later be used in a smear campaign to allege an extramarital affair.

On Twitter, Foster noted he was following the “Billy Graham Rule.”

“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,” the Republican wrote. “I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife.”

In an interview with WCBS 880’s Steve Scott, Campbell notes that she had had a longstanding relationship with Foster and that she broke the story that he would be running for governor, which is why the decision came as such a shock to her.

“It did not occur to me until probably a couple of minutes of talking to him that he needed a chaperone because I, you know, could be seen as someone that he was having an extramarital relationship with,” Campbell said. “I mean it was just – it was so far fetch. Certainly, in my professional career, I’ve never had a request like that.”

She notes that the request for a chaperone did “offend me as a woman.”

“We decided the request was pretty sexist and that we wouldn’t comply,” Campbell explained.

Foster said he could not allow Campbell to be alone with him as he could not ensure that male staffers would be with him at all times during the 15-hour ride along.

According to the Associated Press, Foster is a first-term state lawmaker and has raised significantly less money than the other two Republicans seeking the nomination, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.