These Tweets About Robert Foster's Refusal To Be Alone With Women Are Their Own Punchline
Good afternoon everyone, and get ready to hear one of the most interesting news stories of the week. On Wednesday, July 10, a Republican politician running for governor in Mississippi made headlines after refusing to allow a female reporter to shadow him on his campaign trail — for "moral" reasons. Naturally once Twitter got wind of this story, the commentary was ruthless. Just check out these tweets about Robert Foster's refusal to be alone with women and see for yourself. You truly can't make this stuff up.
On July 10, The New York Times reported that State Rep. Robert Foster of Mississippi blocked local reporter Larrison Campbell from shadowing him on a trip during his Mississippi campaign for governor. The reason? He wanted “to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise” his marriage. OK? Elite Daily reached out to Foster's campaign team for comment on these reports, but did not hear back in time for publication.
In a tweet, Foster said that he was following what he called the "Billy Graham Rule," which is an evangelical idea that a man shouldn't spend time any time alone with a woman who is not his wife. In a piece published on Mississippi Today, Campbell said that Foster's campaign manager had told her that a male companion needed to accompany her for a "ride-along" 15-hour campaign trip in Foster's truck. According to the report, the campaign was worried that the "optics" of Foster with a woman not his wife "could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair,” Campbell wrote — despite the fact that she was a professional just trying to do her job.
Foster addressed the report in a series of tweets, which appeared to confirm and attempt to explain the situation. It started,
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.
He also called it a "moral" stance in another tweet, saying, "I refuse to change my moral stance on any issue because it’s not popular among the radical left."
Foster's refusal to be alone with Campbell went viral across Twitter, with numerous social media users poking fun at the representative, while also calling him out for the message his stance sends about professional relationships between men and women.
However, jokes and memes aside, Foster's refusal to be alone with a woman based on her gender isn't very funny. The stance promotes the false idea that men and women can't be involved in professional relationships without sexuality coming into play — and that, in turn, limits women's opportunities to advance in their careers and professions. In Campbell's case, she missed out on a professional opportunity because Foster's stance put her gender ahead of her professional capability. The stance isn't kind to men, either: It implies they are incapable of controlling themselves around women.
Campbell spoke to CNN on July 11 about Foster's decision, where she called out the politician for putting her gender before her profession.
"What you're saying here is a woman is a sexual object first and a reporter second," Campbell said. Elite Daily reached out to Foster's campaign team for a statement on Campbell's interview, but did not hear back in time for publication.
Campbell has been covering Foster's campaign on Mississippi Today for months. In November 2018, she announced his candidacy for governor, and in December 2018 reported on Foster's refusal of a $1 million donation meant to convince him to drop out of the governor race and opt for a smaller, statewide office position. So even though Foster denied Campbell access to his campaign trip, he still has a lot to thank her for when it comes to news coverage.
Another day, another news story worthy of The Handmaid's Tale.