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Foster Cites 'Billy Graham Rule' to Deny Woman Reporter Access

12 July 2019

Robert Foster, a Republican state representative in MS who is running for governor, has refused to let a female journalist shadow him on a campaign trip for fear onlookers might suspect he is having an extramarital affair. "That is sexism. We've got to talk about that".

Campbell, who said that she was the first to report on Foster's plans to enter the gubernatorial race in November 2018, told CNN by phone Wednesday that she was in "disbelief" when Foster's campaign manager, Colton Robinson, told her she wouldn't be allowed to cover the campaign by herself. It's why I love my job.

"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.

Campbell wrote in Mississippi Today on Tuesday that the paper had asked to shadow each gubernatorial candidate seeking the GOP nomination "in an attempt to better inform readers" and that the other two candidates agreed to the request while Foster declined. They repeatedly told her they were anxious about a smear campaign against Foster.

Foster told SuperTalk Mississippi radio Wednesday, "It's a ride-along request for a 16-hour day that we were going to be on the road. But Robison insisted that trackers are trying to get any footage that would make the candidate look bad", she wrote.

He explained the rule, promoted by the evangelical preacher, was to "avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage".

A U.S. politician says his decision to deny a female reporter access to a campaign trip ride along without a male chaperone was out of respect to his wife.

Mr Foster has since doubled down on his decision, tweeting that he was avoiding the appearance of evil.

A MS candidate who refused to meet alone with a woman says he's following the "Billy Graham Rule" - and he's not the first politician to do so.

"Once again, the liberal left is attacking someone for their integrity, professionalism, and Christian beliefs". "Exactly why we need a #msgov who will protect these values".

He cited the leisurely Christian evangelist Billy Graham, who had mentioned he would not spend time alone with any lady who was once not his wife, besides to Vice-President Mike Pence, who has mentioned he will not utilize alone with a lady rather than his wife.

"Somebody posted on Facebook "he has to do this, this is the post-MeToo era ..."

"I trust myself completely", Foster said in response, to which Campbell smiled and let out a breath in slight amusement.

The story about the story has thrust Campbell into the national spotlight and while she said she would prefer not be there, she is glad it has brought the issue to the fore.

"We simply asked if they could find a photographer, a male counterpart, to bring along with them ... we just wanted to keep things professional".

Asked by Berman if the need to exercise "precaution" was because he didn't trust Campbell or himself, Foster said he was anxious that the situation may inadvertently create a false impression.

Doubling down on his position, Foster said people's thoughts about the situation will not affect his decision to conduct himself in a way he feels is appropriate. "I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn't share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife", Foster wrote.

Foster Cites 'Billy Graham Rule' to Deny Woman Reporter Access