Republican Mississippi state Rep. Robert Foster, who is running for governor, is refusing to allow a female reporter, Larrison Campbell, to shadow his campaign without a male colleague present.
Campbell confronted Foster on CNN about his discriminatory rule:
Why does it appear improper for a man to be with a woman, unless at the end of day what you’re saying here is a woman is a sexual object first and a reporter second.
People when they see a woman with a man are going to automatically assume she’s there with an improper relationship because, again, they see a woman as a sexual object first and as someone who’s doing my job second.
Foster claimed his rule not to be alone with a woman was part of his marriage vows:
Well, first of all, I’m a married man and I made a vow with my wife, and part of the agreement that we’ve also made throughout our marriage is we would not be alone with someone of the opposite sex throughout our marriage.
I apologize for that, if that hurts your feelings, but I would much rather up hold my vows with my wife over anyone else.
Campbell questioned how Foster would be able to function as governor with his rule, but Foster insisted he was following in the steps of the late evangelist Billy Graham and Vice President Mike Pence:
We’re talking about riding in my truck … It’s just the perception. It’s a very professional rule that many other people, including Billy Graham and Gov. Mike Pence have followed and many other leaders in our nation.
Campbell called Foster out for discrimination:
I’ve heard from a lot of women in the last 24 hours, like around the country who, you know, whether it’s next door in Alabama or across the country in Colorado or L.A. … Politics is a men’s club.
And, you know, for you’re a woman you’re seen kind of as an outsider. When you go back to this idea perception is everything, women are perceived to not belong there because people are — a large group of people are used to seeing men in those spaces.
Foster later blamed the MeToo# movement and his fear of a false allegation by a woman:
I have my position, and I don’t have to break my rule in my vehicle for anyone. And I think it’s also important to point out the fact because of the me too movement now men are under attack all of the time.
Sometimes those accusations come out to be true and there are many times they’ve been proven to be false. I’m not going to allow myself to be put in a situation with any female where they could make an accusation against me and there’s not a witness there to refute that accusation.