An Australian journalist has been criticised for his “creepy” interview with New Zealand‘s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
In the opening segment of Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes, Charles Wooley described Ms Ardern as “attractive”, calling himself “smitten” with her.
Filmed walking around the corridors of Parliament House with her, he says: “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.”
Mr Wooley’s questions about Ms Ardern’s pregnancy raised eyebrows, after he said: “It’s interesting how many people have been counting back to the conception…as it were,” eliciting an uncomfortable “Really?”
She became New Zealand’s third female Prime Minister at just the age of 37 after striking a coalition deal with one of the country’s political grandees.
Critics took to social media, where they branded the interview “sexist” and “uncomfortable”.
One, Emily George, wrote: “Commenting on [Jacinda Ardern’s] level of attractiveness doesn’t seem to be relevant to her ability as a nation’s leader.”
Another, Priscilla Sutton, wrote: “I assumed #60mins would have a second half of the Jacinda interview after the break that talked about her policies and political achievements. But…nothing.
“All we got was sexist comments about her looks and baby talk. Ugh. Absolutely s******* journalism…”
Meanwhile Jess Etheridge simply asked: “What the f*** is wrong with this Aussie journalist?”
Mr Wooley defended his comments to Newstalk ZB in New Zealand, saying he did not see anything wrong with his line of questioning.
“If you say somebody is attractive, my thesaurus defines it as 50 choices from good looking to gorgeous to likable, there is so many different meanings.
“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.”
Ms Arden told reporters she did not find the interview offensive in her weekly media briefing.