Female reporter told she could only shadow GOP candidate if a male colleague joined her

Robert Foster.
(Image credit: Facebook/foster4ms)

Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell was told she could follow Mississippi Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster on the campaign trail, under one condition: a male colleague joined her.

Campbell said Foster's campaign manager, Colton Robison, told her about the requirement this week, with Robison saying he was afraid that people hired by other primary candidates to follow Foster around would see Campbell with the conservative state lawmaker, and start a smear campaign that they were having an affair. "Perception is everything," Robison said, per Campbell. "We are so close to the primary. If [trackers] were to get a picture and they put a mailer out, we wouldn't have time to dispute it. And that's why we have to be careful."

Campbell, who has interviewed Foster several times in person and over the phone, said Robison admitted this was a "weird request." Campbell said she offered to wear a press pass at all times, making it clear she is a reporter, but Robison said no. Speaking to The Guardian on Wednesday, Campbell said the whole ordeal was outrageous. "I'm showing up, I'm doing everything right, I'm trying to do my job, and you are sexualizing me," she said. "How is that not sexist? The only thing that makes me in your mind unfit to do this job is the fact that I'm a woman. That is sexism. We've got to talk about that."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.