Australia’s 60 Minutes has been criticized for what viewers have called a sexist interview with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
60 Minutes reporter Charles Wooley said “I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time. But none so young, not too many so smart, and never one so attractive.” Wooley said he was “somewhat smitten just like the rest of her country” with Ardern and described her as “young, honest and pregnant.” He asked if being pregnant helped her approval ratings.
Wooley also asked when Ardern’s baby was due, calling it an “important political question,” and commented about her conception date, saying her baby was conceived “during an election campaign.”
iMediaEthics wrote to 60 Minutes to ask for a response to the criticism of the interview and to ask why personal questions such as Ardern’s conception were asked. A spokesperson gave iMediaEthics the show’s current statement, which reads:
“In its 40 years on-air, 60 MINUTES has always been renowned for its political interviews conducted without fear or favour.
“In interviews with various world leaders including Bob Hawke, Margaret Thatcher and current Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, 60 MINUTES reporters have always asked the tough questions which the public has been wanting to hear, while also showing the human side of these individuals that we rarely get to see.
“Charles Wooley came away from his interview with Jacinda Ardern in awe of her poise, intelligence and everyday charm, which was reflected in the full story.”
Wooley told New Zealand radio station NewsTalkZB that he thought the criticism was “Orwellian,” the BBC noted.
The New Zealand Herald and Guardian Australia collected numerous viewers’ reactions critical of the interview.
Ardern told reporters that she didn’t remember being offended by the questions, but did say the comments about her conception date was “too much information,” the New Zealand Herald reported.
Below, read tweets about the interview.