February 25, 2018
Australian journalist Charles Wooley criticised for calling PM ‘attractive’ and discussing the conception of her baby

New Zealanders have criticised an interview with their prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, as “creepy” and “sexist”.
In the opening segment of the Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes , which aired on Sunday night, the veteran reporter Charles Wooley described the 37-year-old Ardern as “attractive”.
“I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time,” says Wooley, filmed strolling the corridors of Parliament House with Ardern, the camera pulling in for a close-up on Ardern’s smiling face. “But none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive.”
Wooley goes on to say that like the rest of New Zealand, he is “smitten” with their prime minister, with Channel Nine describing the interview in promos as a behind-the-scenes special with a world leader “like no other”, who is “young, honest and pregnant”.
“Admittedly, although somewhat smitten just like the rest of her country, I do know, that what’s really important in politics has to be what you leave behind,” Wooley says.
The interview was immediately met with derision from many New Zealanders on social media, who leapt to the defence of Ardern at having to endure the overly personal line of questioning, and dismissed Wooley as misogynistic and inappropriate. Other viewers said the interview was “repugnant”, “creepy” and “painful”.
“How did a nice person like you get into the sordid world of politics?” Wooley asked Ardern.
“Nice people go into politics,” replied Ardern, smiling.
Wooley’s questions about her pregnancy appeared to make her and her partner, Clarke Gayford, rather uncomfortable.
“One really important political question that I want to ask you,” Wooley said. “And that is, what exactly is the date that the baby’s due?”
Ardern replied that her baby was due on 17 June, to which Wooley replied: “It’s interesting how many people have been counting back to the conception ... as it were,” which made Gayford blush and laugh uncomfortably, responding: “Really?”
Wooley continued: “Having produced six children it doesn’t amaze me that people can have children;, why shouldn’t a child be conceived during an election campaign?”
At this, Ardern appeared to roll her eyes, responding: “The election was done. Not that we need to get into those details.”
Wooley’s interviewing style obviously irked Gayford, who later alluded to the programme when he tweeted about great places in New Zealand where you can “escape for 60 Minutes or longer”.
Although the overwhelming response to the interview was one of shock, some seemed to have enjoyed the casual style, describing the piece as “complimentary” of Ardern.
Wolley defended his comments to Newstalk ZB in New Zealand, saying he did not find his line of questioning or commentary off-colour.
Wooley said he didn’t question Ardern about domestic issues such as housing or tertiary education because those topics wouldn’t interest his Australian audience.
“If you say somebody is attractive, my thesaurus defines it as 50 choices from good looking to gorgeous to likeable, there is so many different meanings,” Wolley told ZB, adding that the segment rated well, though his wife accused him of “gushing” over Ardern.
“It’s a bit Orwellian you know I think you got to be so careful with newspeak and thought crime and everything else, we suffer the same thing in Australia.”
“On 60 Minutes they want to see this wonderful couple. I just loved being with them, I thought they were so much fun, such a breath of fresh air, you know it was just terrific to be with them.”
In her weekly media stand-up Ardern said she did not find the interview offensive though she was initially taken-aback by the question concerning the conception date of her child.
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