Interviewer calling New Zealand prime minister ‘so attractive’ decried as ‘sexist’
Written by Leah Jones on February 27, 2018
Phil Walter/Getty Images(SYDNEY) — An Australian current affairs show has come under fire for its recent interview with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with many calling the line of questioning “sexist.”
Charles Wooley, the veteran reporter for the Australian current affairs show “60 Minutes,” asked Ardern when she and her partner conceived and admitted he was “smitten” by her.
In his introduction to the interview, which aired Feb. 25, Wooley said he has never met a prime minister that was “so attractive.”
The interview garnered widespread criticism from viewers both in Australia and New Zealand, and many voiced their displeasure on social media.
Ardern, 37, recently announced she was pregnant. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Ardern responded to a question asking if she thought the interview was sexist.
“No, the interview didn’t stand out for me in a way that made sense. When I saw some of the headlines that followed on, I had to look back and remind myself of what the questions might have been,” she responded.
She went on, “I haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing it. Maybe I’ve lost all my sensitivity, maybe it’s just that I’m from Morrinsville. I wasn’t particularly phased by any of it.”
In the interview, Wooley asked the prime minister: “It’s interesting how much people have been counting back to the conception as it were … why shouldn’t a child be conceived during an election campaign?”
A visibly uncomfortable Ardern, who was joined in the interview with her partner, Clarke Gayfords, laughed off the question, saying, “I mean, should add that the election was done … yup, not that we need to get into those details.”
Wooley’s show defended his line of questioning in a statement, saying it showed “the human side of these individuals that we rarely get to see,” according to Australian media.
“Charles Wooley came away from his interview with Jacinda Ardern in awe of her poise, intelligence and everyday charm, which was reflected in the full story,” the statement added.
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