‘Creepy’ interview with Jacinda Ardern angers New Zealand

PM described as ‘attractive’ and asked about conception on Australia’s ‘60 Minutes’

Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes has been under fire after televising a programme with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in which reporter Charles Wooley is accused of being inappropriate. Video: 60 Minutes Australia

 

New Zealanders have criticised an interview with their prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Australian televison 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 Ms Ardern as “attractive”.

“I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time,” says Wooley, filmed strolling the corridors of Parliament House with Ms Ardern, the camera pulling in for a close-up on Ms 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 New Zealanders, he is “smitten” with the 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 Ms 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 Ms Ardern, smiling.

Pregnancy

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?”

Ms Ardern replied that her baby is due on June 17th, 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, Ms 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 Mr 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 Ms Ardern. – Guardian