Candidate: Woman reporter must be joined by male colleague

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2019

A female journalist has had her request to travel alongside a Republican candidate for MS governor denied because she is a woman.

"My job is to let the readers know what is happening in MS", she said.

"However, campaign director, Colton Robison, insisted that Campbell bring a male peer along with her to ensure she is not following the campaign alone, adding, "[We] can't risk it".

"Really up until the last couple of minutes of our conversation I really assumed that we'd find a way to make it work and I was shocked that this was a deal breaker". "The only reason you think that people will think I'm having a (improper) relationship with your candidate is because I am a woman", she said she told him. "I sort of see this as a part of the public service of the job". How is that not sexist?

Larrison Campbell with the online publication Mississippi Today wrote that she requested to "shadow" Foster to report about his campaign before the August 6 primary, and his campaign director told her Foster wouldn't ride in a vehicle alone with her because people could insinuate Foster and Campbell are having an affair. "I don't think it was until I hung up that I got upset by it".

Campbell said Wednesday it was uncomfortable for her, as a journalist, to be thrust into a story she was covering but, after Campell spoke with her editors, the paper made a decision to explain why Foster would get less coverage in Mississippi Today than the other GOP candidates. She told the campaign she would be attending alone, but they would not change their mind, she said.

Campbell reported that Robison refused her request even after she offered to wear her press badge in plain view at all times.

Foster confirmed his decision with a tweet Tuesday night.

"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 candidate, Robert Foster, said in a fundraising email Wednesday.

Foster defended his decision on Twitter, citing an agreement with his wife to abide by what he called the "Billy Graham Rule". "They can't believe, that even in 2019, someone still values their relationship with their wife and upholds their Christian Faith".

"Once again, the liberal left is attacking someone for their integrity, professionalism, and Christian beliefs".

Foster, who now serves as a state senator, is a hardline Tea Party conservative who, as Campbell pointed out in her report, also has an inflammatory Twitter presence.

Campbell said sharing her experiences has prompted mixed reactions - many of them supporting Foster's reaction.

"Somebody posted on Facebook "he has to do this, this is the post-MeToo era ... He was just doing what he needed to do to protect himself", she said.

"I don't think this is a MS story", she said. "I wish it weren't the way it is".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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