Mississippi Republican Refuses To Let Female Reporter Cover His Campaign

Citing the so-called "Billy Graham Rule," a Republican candidate for Governor in Mississippi is refusing to let a female reporter accompany him on a campaign ride-along.

A Republican politician in Mississippi is attempting to bar women from his press entourage, claiming that he is doing so in order to abide by his religious principles:

Robert Foster, a state representative in Mississippi who is running for governor, blocked a female reporter from shadowing him on a campaign trip “to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise” his marriage.

The reporter, Larrison Campbell of the news site Mississippi Today, wrote in an article published on Tuesday night that Mr. Foster’s campaign manager, Colton Robison, had told her that a male colleague would need to accompany her for a “ride-along” on a 15-hour campaign trip around the state.

Mr. Robison said that the campaign “believed the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair,” Ms. Campbell wrote.

In blocking the reporter, Mr. Foster, 36, a Republican, invoked the “Billy Graham rule,” which refers to the Christian evangelist’s refusal to spend time alone with any woman who was not his wife.

The practice has drawn renewed attention in recent years, especially after the resurfacing of a 2002 comment by Vice President Mike Pence that he would not eat alone with any woman other than his wife.

That led to a fierce debate among Americans, with some arguing that such limitations on interactions are necessary in the workplace, and others saying that they are unfair to women in professional settings and reduce them to sex objects.

Ms. Campbell, 40, wrote in her article on Tuesday that she and her editor had decided that the request was sexist and “an unnecessary use of resources” given her experience. She has interviewed Mr. Foster numerous times and broke the story of his candidacy. Mr. Robison would also have been present during the trip. But the campaign would not budge, she wrote.

After the article was published, Mr. Foster responded on Twitterthat he and his wife had committed to following the Billy Graham rule before he announced his candidacy.

“I’m sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife,” he wrote.

In an email, Mr. Foster indicated he would grant Mississippi Today additional interviews, as long as they were conducted according to his rules.

“We just want it to be in an appropriate and professional setting that wouldn’t provide opportunities for us to be alone,” he wrote.

The controversy has raised the freshman lawmaker’s profile, and his posts have garnered many supportive comments, along with criticism.

On social media and in interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Foster criticized “the liberal press” and painted himself as an uncompromising man of principle. Mississippi Today reported that his campaign was boosting his social media posts and had sent out a fund-raising email asserting that he was being attacked for his Christian faith.

He and Ms. Campbell appeared on CNN’s morning show “New Day”on Thursday. He noted that they would have been traveling in his vehicle during the ride-along.

“This is my truck, and in my truck we go by my rules,” he said.

“Perception is reality in this world and I don’t want to give anybody the opinion that I’m doing something that I should not be doing,” he added.

Ms. Campbell repeated her belief that she had been unfairly stopped from doing her job.

“Why does it appear improper for a man to be with a woman?” she asked. “I mean, why wouldn’t, like, a gay affair be construed if you were with a man? Unless, at the end of day, what you’re saying here is, a woman is a sexual object first and a reporter second.”

Foster also appeared this morning on CNN’s Smerconish:

To be fair, Foster is not saying that Campbell can’t cover his campaign events. Presumably, she’d be allowed to do that since he would not be alone with her. He is, however, treating her in a sexist and discriminatory manner because of her gender and, apparently, because of his own belief that he might be unable to control himself if they were alone together for an extended period of time. The ironic part of this is that Campbell is a lesbian who is married to a woman so the idea that she’d even be interested in or attracted to him is somewhat ridiculous. Campbell also raises a good point when she asks why the same rule shouldn’t apply to a male reporter given that some people might assume that Foster was involved with him, especially if this reporter were a gay male.

I suppose that Foster is free to make whatever rules he wishes regarding how he deals with reporters, but that doesn’t mean that the decision he’s making here is based on a view of relationships between men and women that view women as nothing more than “temptresses” who will cause men to stray. It’s the same outdated philosophy that leads to dress codes in public schools that require girls to cover-up clothes are clearly not inappropriate simply out of fears that they will cause teenage boys to be distracted. It’s unfair because it places the entire burden in male-female interaction on women and girls and because it is rooted in a view of men that sees all men as potential sexual predators who are only restrained if the women are dressed blandly and kept as far away from them as possible.

As noted, all of this is rooted in the so-called “Billy Graham Rule,” which gained notoriety shortly after Mike Pence became Vice-President because he apparently has the same policy. Under this “rule,” men simply refuse to be alone with a woman who isn’t their wife whether it is in a social or business setting. The alleged justification for the rule is to “honor” one’s spouse or significant other by not raising the implication of potential bad behavior. In the wake of the MeToo movement, it has also been said that a reason for the rule is to prevent men from being wrongfully accused of inappropriate behavior.

What’s surprising, though, is that public opinion appears to be on Fosters’s side:

While many have criticized the practice as sexist, the attitude behind it is common among Americans: A 2017 poll conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times found that many men and women are wary of a range of one-on-one situations.

Around a quarter said that private work meetings with colleagues of the opposite sex are inappropriate, while nearly two-thirds believed that extra caution should be taken around members of the opposite sex at work, the poll found.

And a majority of women — and nearly half of men — said it was unacceptable to have dinner or drinks alone with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse.

As Monica Hesse notes in The Washington Post, though, the so-called rule actually demeans women while also unfairly discriminating against them:

[T]here’s not a single inch of moral high ground achieved via the Billy Graham rule, which purports to honor marriage vows. In similar fashion, Vice President Pence once said he would not dine alone with a woman to whom he wasn’t married. But rules like these don’t honor your wife. They just presume that your marriage vows are so flimsy that you can’t be trusted to uphold them unless a babysitter monitors you. It’s rather like a thief sanctimoniously announcing that he brings a parole officer every time he goes to the bank to make sure he doesn’t rob it. Good for you, dude, for knowing your own limitations — but it doesn’t make you better than the rest of us, who manage to regularly not steal things even when we’re completely alone.

Or, as writer Jeremy White offered: “[The rule] presumes either: A) you can’t be trusted or B) women can’t be trusted. Everyone invoking that rule should be prepared to answer which is true.”

At other points, Foster’s camp seemed to imply that the issue wasn’t about his marriage vows but about optics. “We’re really concerned about bad publicity,” Campbell said Foster’s campaign director told her. The director mentioned the possibility of a rival campaign taking photographs of the pair together, which would put Foster in a “compromising position.”

There’s so much wrong with this logic that it’s difficult to know where to start.

It implies that a man and woman together are necessarily engaging in compromising activities. Even if they are in public. Even if one of them, like Campbell, is gay. Even if one of them is a candidate on the campaign trail and the other is holding a notebook and wearing a press badge, and they’re making the rounds of public events and rubber chicken dinners. (Truly, if this is what Foster considers being caught in flagrante, I feel deeply sad about his sex life.) It implies that Campbell is a love interest before she’s a journalist, even when she’s specifically there as a journalist.

This logic further implies that Foster’s silly, specious perception of a “compromised position” is more important than the actual compromised position that his policy creates for Campbell. She has been assigned a job that she is now unable to do. Her news outlet must decide whether to short its readers on coverage of a gubernatorial candidate on a matter of principle or capitulate to the candidate’s insulting demands. (They rightly chose the former and skipped the assignment).

The most harmful aspect of the Graham/Pence rule is this: It keeps women out of the room. It says that men can forward their careers via mentoring sessions, golf games and brainstorming lunches, but women cannot. Are we to gather that, because of this rule, Foster would also never employ a female chief of staff, attorney or accountant and never visit a female doctor, dentist or physical therapist, since all of those roles would necessitate occasional alone time?

These might be acceptable, if dispiriting, choices for a private citizen to make in his own life, but a governor making them has cascading effects for hundreds of thousands of people within his bureaucracy. The Graham/Pence rule prevents women from climbing to the top of their careers because the men who have the power to help them get there won’t even let them in the room.

Hesse concludes her column with this barb directed at Foster that made me chuckle:

The only upside of Foster continuing to dig this hole was that, by the end of the day, it was difficult to imagine any woman wanting to spend 15 hours in a car with him. Not alone, not with a chaperone, not for work, not for fun. He can’t be in a car with a woman doing her job? Fine. Leave him in the dust, by the side of the road.

Hesse is, of course, absolutely correct in her assessment of Foster’s actions and of the so-called “Billy Graham” Rule. Not only is it rooted in outdated and discriminatory views of the relationship between men and women, it also results in women being treated unfairly for reasons they have no control over. In my own career, there have been plenty of times where I was required to work late with a female colleague and I would not have even thought once about refusing to do so because of my co-worker’s gender. In all such situations, we were both professionals, both adults, and both capable of focusing on the job rather than on the things that people like Billy Graham, Mike Pence, and Robert Foster are worried about. At its root, the rule is an archaic and discriminatory rule that fails to recognize reality. If Foster can’t control himself, that’s his problem, not Ms. Campbell’s. His temptations should not be the reason that she isn’t able to do the same job as her male colleagues.

Robert Foster is a sexist who doesn’t want to be alone with women because he’s afraid he’ll be tempted to break his marriage vows. This is his problem, not Larrison Campbell’s. The good news is that Foster is in a distant third place in the race for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination. At the very least this is unlikely to get him any increased support from Mississippi women

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2019, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    I predict this will actually increase his support among Republican women in Mississippi.

    17
  2. He’s currently polling at 9% among Republicans overall.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Perception is reality in this world and I don’t want to give anybody the opinion that I’m doing something that I should not be doing,” he added.

    I swear to dawg, sometimes I think 95% of everything that is wrong with this world is due to people who actually believe this. Perceptions matter, but no matter what shape one twists them into they are not ever reality.

    found that many men and women are wary of a range of one-on-one situations.

    Not me.

    2
    2
  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    Mother will be oh so proud of him.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I have no sympathy for this idiot but some for the question of perception. I’m a heterosexual white male who writes books for teenagers – largely female teenagers – and on many occasions I visit schools and bookstores and libraries here 14 year-olds come up and say nice things about me.

    I have had a rule from day 1: at no time, ever, for any reason whatsoever, have I ever been alone with a fan for even a minute. Zero in over a decade. This was not a reaction to #MeToo, rather a reaction to McMartin Preschool. We are rather prone to moral panics in this country, a legacy of Puritanism, I suppose, but I wanted to be able to say – and can truthfully say – that there are literally zero instances of me being alone with a fan.

    15
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t disagree with you in the least when it comes to female (male too for that matter) teenagers. Care always needs be taken with them, they are fragile and prone to over magnification of all that is in their own minds. Everything gets exaggerated there, from a kind comment to a momentary distraction to an innocent slight. One minute the world is their oyster and the next they want to “end it all” (not really, but they think they feel that). It is scary.

  7. @michael reynolds:

    In the context that you’re dealing with, I certainly understand the need for such a rule. In a professional setting where both parties are adults, though, I just think it’s an excuse for outdated views about men and women and sexism

    15
    1
  8. Slugger says:

    No Sharia law! This is America.

    11
    1
  9. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Doug Mataconis:

    I will confess to having on occasion been alone with adult female librarians, booksellers, authors, editors, etc… It’d be kind of hard to avoid given that the aforementioned occupations are heavily female, especially in kidlit.

    Still, to be honest, I’ve kept my distance – much helped by the fact that I don’t really like hanging out very much. An acquaintance in the biz has had his career and life trashed, not by #MeToo but by absurd overreactions to mildly off-color jokes. We live in an era of mob rule and I have had no reason to regret my generally anti-social tendencies.

  10. Jc says:

    Don’t see the major issue here. In the public eye and all. Heck, even at work if a male goes out to lunch with a female on their lunch break more than two times, you can almost guarantee people will start hearing rumors around the office, or talk will occur, speculation etc… which just feeds more until you have a full blown fake news like scenario in your office lol. You think as a child that adults are so much different. They are not. They are just grown children.

  11. Kit says:

    There’s also an aspect of right-wing virtue signalling going on.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @Slugger:

    No Sharia law!

    I had the same thought. I was hoping that Campbell would publicly offer to wear the full burqa on the trip if it would make Foster more comfortable.

    9
    1
  13. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “found that many men and women are wary of a range of one-on-one situations.”

    Yes, because many women are concerned that if they’re alone with a man he will molest or rape them and many men are concerned that if they molest or rape the woman they’re alone with they will be unfairly accused of rape or molestation.

    7
    2
  14. Lynn says:

    I was a psychologist … I suppose I could have had male clients bring a 3rd party to their therapy sessions.

  15. CSK says:

    He flatters himself.

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I will only meet with my college students one on one if the door to the room we are in is open. But that is due to wanting to avoid any appearance of impropriety given the power imbalance and potential ethical implications.

    However, unless the person creeps me out, it has never even occurred to me to decline to be alone in a room with another member of faculty or staff, regardless of gender.

  17. Slugger says:

    It would be fun to ask Mr. Foster’s opinion of a man who deliberately barges into the dressing room of teenage beauty contestants. Or a patron of a porn-star prostitute.

    6
    1
  18. rachel says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I will only meet with my college students one on one if the door to the room we are in is open.

    That’s the (informal) rule where I work too. Students are inexperienced, and there’s a power imbalance that must be considered too. But I would never worry about being alone in a closed room with an adult coworker.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Slugger:

    No Sharia law! This is America.

    Turns out one need not be either Muslim or Afghani to be Taliban.

    6
    1
  20. hippiefreak says:

    In that long article, there is only one sentence given to the very obvious MeToo justification which everybody knows is the source of it all, yet the author says nothing more about it, no delving into its merit:

    “In the wake of the MeToo movement, it has also been said that a reason for the rule is to prevent men from being wrongfully accused of inappropriate behavior.”

    “It has also been said…”, the author wrote, like it’s a small adjunct to the conversation, not worthy of more than a mention. Gimme a break. What’s wrong with talking awhile about how MeToo made this happen? It’s true, ya know. Somebody is afraid to speak truth to women.

    Instead, we are subjected to women’s hamster thinking, them going all over the place, doing that female thing where they drown us with words to try to distract and control, trying to create where the argument should be. Even other women aren’t buying it.

    I file this with that other male-space-invading joke, the transgender’s you-are-required-to-date-me.

    3
    17
  21. hippiefreak says:

    It’s regrettable that you chose to not approve my earlier comment. The other comments here are of the “echo chamber” variety. You need variety of opinion. We are discussing this on a men’s group, how this is being cultivated, not only in your article itself but apparently in the comments section. I thought the media learned in 2016 to not foster a bubble. You may be doing it here.

    2
    12
  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    ” I was hoping that Campbell would publicly offer to wear the full burqa on the trip if it would make Foster more comfortable.”

    Ironically enough, that would probably make him less comfortable. How would he be able to be sure that she wasn’t a terrorist assassin in that case?

    1
    1
  23. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @hippiefreak: Adult men who treat adult women as human beings rather than sexual vessels don’t spend their days worrying about #MeToo.

    17
    3
  24. hippiefreak says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Well, if you don’t want to to discuss the connection between MeToo and the new popularity of the Billy Graham Rule, then you don’t want to. You prefer to embed insults, that is what you make time for. Got it.

    2
    11
  25. Matt says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Personally my favorite part was this.

    Instead, we are subjected to women’s hamster thinking, them going all over the place, doing that female thing where they drown us with words to try to distract and control, trying to create where the argument should be.

    Shows a lot of issues in one sentence. Painting all women with a broad brush and blaming them for all the problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “men’s group” is a red pill “alpha” wannabe 4chan group…

    The sad truth is that men can be just as invested in “hamster thinking” as any women. Because in the end we’re all human and humans come in a wide range of examples.

    As for the politician well he’s just being an attention whore trying to get a bump in the polls for his sagging campaign.

    8
    1
  26. hippiefreak says:

    @Matt: Yes, that is a complex thought and I am happy to have communicated it to you. It’s always been a personal habit of mine to try to take several issues that is typically expressed in several sentences and compact it, hopefully without distortion. But, you are incorrect to put words in my mouth when you write “all women” and “all the problems”. I now think I’ve failed to communicate to you. You seem to dismiss what I say only because you decided all on your own I speak uniquely of women. That’s on you. No, I speak of how women (and their male supporters) creatively with words continue to avoid discussing the connection I’ve brought up. The evidence is in this article and in your reply. Thank you.

    1
    9
  27. Matt says:

    @hippiefreak: One GOP candidate who is struggling has invoked the rule as a publicity stunt. I wouldn’t call that a “new popularity of the Billy Graham Rule” in the manner you’re trying to claim. It’s only “newly popular” because of one person… It’s not a wave of people behind it or anything of the sort.

    @hippiefreak: There you go again. Massively stereotyping everyone else because you’re the “woke” one…

  28. Gustopher says:

    @hippiefreak:

    In that long article, there is only one sentence given to the very obvious MeToo justification which everybody knows is the source of it all, yet the author says nothing more about it, no delving into its merit:

    I don’t know that MeToo is the source of it.

    There are lots of creepy religious customs that require men and women to be separated, or never alone, and the MeToo justification may just be a justification after the fact. You don’t see people on the left doing this — folks on the left can be subject to these accusations too.

    If this creepy religious custom is your creepy religious custom, more power to you, I guess, but implement it with both men and women in the workplace.

    I do suspect that sexual harassment is why most of the newer office buildings I have seen have glass walls on the offices and small conference rooms — this predates MeToo, but it’s all part of a long changing society.

  29. hippiefreak says:

    @Gustopher: When MeToo started to kick it into high gear that women could have success in damaging men’s careers and lives on the strength of her accusation alone, it’s easy to see that men were now strongly motivated more than ever before to avoid situations that might unfairly bring them into these accusations. That’s when what Mike Pence said took off. I can understand that a woman’s focus would be on her success, not on his damage. That may explain why the new popularity of the Billy Graham Rule is not easily connected in women’s minds back to the MeToo driver while so many men of course know that it is. I’m trying to point out the connection that this article dismissed too quickly. It’s real and it counts immensely.

    2
    9
  30. hippiefreak says:

    @Matt: If you can cease distracting yourself with your penchant to spar, perhaps this conversation can be saved. Thank you.

    1
    8
  31. hippiefreak says:

    @Matt: One GOP candidate who is struggling has invoked the rule as a publicity stunt. I wouldn’t call that a “new popularity of the Billy Graham Rule” in the manner you’re trying to claim. It’s only “newly popular” because of one person… It’s not a wave of people behind it or anything of the sort.”

    I agree, I wouldn’t call one GOP candidate a new popularity. Obviously, I was talking about an awareness outside of yours, sir. For instance, the 2017 survey mentioned in this article. It is a bunch of men, not just one person. That’s why this article exists, and other articles like it. Women are noticing a bunch of men are more wary than before, not just one GOP candidate. This article is not the very first one on this topic. There has been much to read already. Thank you.

    1
    5
  32. KM says:

    Here’s why the “Graham Rule” and all men trying to blame #MeToo are full of sh^t. Here’s the “logic”: They’re claiming they want to protect themselves from false accusations by never being alone with a woman, right? Because men and women do sexy things together so obvi people will believe the woman if she accuses him of doing something. He’s a man, she’s a woman, these “misunderstandings” can occur, right? Guys will be guys and women seem to be cranky about that lately. So better make that potential problem (aka the woman) not be there and no accusation!

    So, here’s where the “logic” falls apart. If it’s really about protecting yourself from “false” accusations, why aren’t gay men included in the Rule? After all, the whole point is it’s supposed to be a “false” accusation – who cares if you don’t swing that way, they could potentially still accuse you and it would be just as believable. Because if you’re the kind of person who sexually harasses, that’s an action origination from your behavior and not your orientation. They have to believe you’re scummy enough to actually do it. So a false gay accusation would hold just as much weight – especially since “repressed Xtian hiding in the closet” would seem plausible in this scenario.

    Men who hold to the Graham Rule or “no woman alone” never seem to state the logical collary “no gay men alone either”. Why? Simple – in their heads, they wouldn’t hit that so it’s not a temptation. They don’t get the “false” part means “it didn’t happen”, not that “it couldn’t ever possibly happen”. “Made-up” means “made-up” – there doesn’t have to be a ring of truth to it if the point is to just smear someone. They are actively admitting there’s a chance they’ll engage in this behavior when they fail to recognize another group that logically sexually attracted to them could, in fact, make the same type of charge.

    16
    2
  33. hippiefreak says:

    Well, each man, straight, gay, or whatever, makes this determination only for himself, yes? If married, it’s between him and his wife, and no third party has privilege as an equal partner in their marriage, of course. So, you and I must accept that we cannot argue with him and his wife to reshape their marriage into something we would prefer to see, agreed?

    You are the only person whom I have ever heard suggest that gay people cannot apply the Billy Graham Rule to themselves. Who said they cannot, other than you?

    That is, each gay man, being an individual, can make up his own mind what risks he takes when around women, when around straight men, when around other gay men, when around strangers, etc. Will you deny him this? Will you deny any man or woman of this?

    Why would any man who is concerned about his safety (and his marriage) care to control the decision-making process of any other man such that a one-size-fits-all reasoning must convince YOU or else they cannot practice individual agency? Nor would any man care that you are upset that any man’s reasons cannot perfectly fit every other man’s situation!

    I don’t care why you won’t go near so-and-so! Or, will you permit me to decide what should be your level of safety in a given situation?

    You should give it a try to acknowledge personal agency and individual circumstances and not this monolithic case you are making! I have right of association and you do not get to control it with your creative thinking! That is also what this biased article was trying to do!

    1
    5
  34. gVOR08 says:

    I suppose that Foster is free to make whatever rules he wishes regarding how he deals with reporters

    Indeed. And we are free to point and laugh.

    If he doesn’t trust himself, or his wife doesn’t trust him, why should anyone else trust him? In anything?

    As someone pointed out, that’s a face that will someday appear in a police report, and the news story will note that Foster was last in the public eye for refusing to allow a reporter to travel with him.

    6
    3
  35. Gustopher says:

    @KM: What about false accusations of racism? Better not be alone with a brown person…

    4
    1
  36. grumpy realist says:

    @hippiefreak: If it’s that important, wear the same sort of video camera that policemen have started to wear and make sure you tape every session where a woman is alone with you.

    Otherwise, remain at home and telecommute if you’re that terrified.

  37. DutchGirl says:

    How did the MeToo movement become about women having the power to ruin lives based on false accusations? The reason it went viral was because yes, most women have had to deal with unwanted sexual advances and far worse. When women said me too, they weren’t slinging false accusations. Having raised awareness that most women have been subject to and will no longer stay silent about that kind of behavior, some men now complain they can’t be alone with women any more. That says a lot about those men.

    12
  38. KM says:

    @hippiefreak :

    You are the only person whom I have ever heard suggest that gay people cannot apply the Billy Graham Rule to themselves. Who said they cannot, other than you?

    Now you’re deliberately misquoting to concern troll. I pointed out men (straight or otherwise) don’t apply the Graham Rule to gay men. In fact, Graham himself didn’t and he’s the one pointed out the whole sexual misunderstanding bit. You’d think a pastor who’s not down with homosexuality would have thought to include that little bit of wisdom….

    The “logic” is simple: woman could accuse man of sexual inappropriateness because men and women have sex. Therefore, no alone time = no opportunity to lie about fake sexual encounters. Well, men and men have sex, too but you don’t hear guys applying this rule state men shouldn’t be alone with them either. After all, they could theoretically lie just as a woman would . The point of a false accusation is it’s FALSE so who cares about the details! Really, under their “logic”, they should be alone with *no one* since *anyone* can make up *anything* to accuse them and it would be he said-they said. It makes zero sense to be so concerned about someone making up stories, only to apply safeguards only to females like they’re somehow intrinsically toxic. Hint: it’s not them that’s toxic in this scenario. It’s the people who think all women are lying bitches that can’t wait to ruin your life by calling you a perv.

    I’m sorry y’all are so weak-willed normal human interaction can be seen as a “threat” to your marriage and safety. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be out in public alone. Please hire a chaperone to go about with you in public at all times for your own protection. That’s on you – YOU have the weird interpersonal concern, YOU hire someone to protect your virtue. You don’t get to demand women be singled out, you don’t get to demand she bring a chaperone when it’s clearly YOU and YOUR concerns alone. It’s not up to the public to “protect your marriage” nor is it “personal agency” to demand everyone else act differently or force segregation because YOU are afraid of something. Agency is you acting like an adult and not behaving in a way that’s inappropriate. The only way accusations stick is if you’re the kind of guy who’d do something like that. If the police “trap” you into going to a hooker, you’re the kind of guy who’s out looking for hookers. If you’re the kind of guy who can’t be alone with a woman for fear of accusations of harassment, you are basically admitting to the world you’d do it in a heartbeat and must be watched. Any wife with a man that does this knows what kind a man she’s married to. Y’all are fooling no one.

  39. KM says:

    @DutchGirl :
    Because men are finally starting to feel what it’s like to be constantly low-key paranoid about their safety and they don’ like it.

    Seriously, women have had to worry men will rape and kill them for millennia. Not to mention the social cost of men constantly getting away with it, punishing the woman on top of it and forcing laws in place to keep those evil-temptresses away from them because guys just can’t help it, you know? A false accusation of sexual impropriety to a woman was and still is FATAL in most of the world. You didn’t lose your job, you lost your life! Now that men have to be concerned women might be believed right away instead of being called a hussy, they freak out. Oh, some women might report you for treating her like a sex object instead of a human and it might cost you money? Horrors! Injustice! Witch-hunts!

    They build up in their minds that some woman’s just going to ruin them over nothing. Well, they say nothing but it never really is. False accusations are rare and when they happen, are quick to be discovered and disproven. There’s no back-log of evidence they can cite, unlike the piles of rape kits years behind being processed. Does it affect your social standing? Yeah but so does a false accusation of theft or battery. It’s just not an issue….. unless you’re someone who’s never worried about being held accountable for your actions before. Then it’s terrifying as hell. It’s a shift in the power dynamic and it’s frightening to some men that they don’t automatically get the benefit of the doubt anymore.

    10
  40. hippiefreak says:

    @grumpy realist: That’s a silly idea, unless you like to antagonize. These men have decided that it’s better to just not place themselves in the situation. Freedom of association. Freedom of choice. Don’t resent it.

    2
    5
  41. hippiefreak says:

    @KM: “Now you’re deliberately misquoting to concern troll. I pointed out men (straight or otherwise) don’t apply the Graham Rule to gay men.”

    My mistake. Who does a man apply the Graham rule to, outside of himself?

  42. hippiefreak says:

    @KM: “Now you’re deliberately misquoting to concern troll. I pointed out men (straight or otherwise) don’t apply the Graham Rule to gay men.”

    So what? The Graham Rule is for each man to decide for himself. It’s a personal choice. You don’t want to understand that.

    1
    3
  43. KM says:

    @hippiefreak:

    So what? The Graham Rule is for each man to decide for himself. It’s a personal choice. You don’t want to understand that.

    So where’s his chaperone? He may decide it’s his personal rule to never be alone with a woman. Fine. Guess what’s NOT his choice? Making every woman obey his rule or they don’t get to speak with him. He’s running for public office – he HAS to speak to women. It’s simply not an option for him to never do so. He doesn’t get to tell them no meetings for them or that they are required to bring a chaperone.

    That’s. On. Him. Personal accountability means HIS personage, not hers.

    You don’t want to understand that.

    You don’t get to run for public office and not deal with the public. Women are 50+% of the public. You want this stupid rule in place? Then you need to provide someone to constantly watch you. You don’t get to demand a women go out of her way to do her job just because you have a personal hangup. You don’t get to interfere with how work is done because you want to treat women as lying harridans out to set a trap. You don’t get to force women out of their workplace because oh uh, you might be *alone* with them so they’re the ones that need to go!

    It’s really funny how y’all keep claiming it’s “your” choice when it’s someone else you want to make change their behavior. Foster isn’t applying the rule by absenting himself from one-on-one meetings, he’s doing it by demanding women obey his standards or else!

    10
  44. hippiefreak says:

    @KM: No chaperone is needed when applying the Graham rule. I am not convinced you are thinking things through, such is your fury. The GOP candidate IS dealing with his public. You just don’t like how he’s doing it. Everything else you wrote are charges that you fabricated in order to have a complaint here. Wow.

    You don’t get to bully people because of things you don’t like. Find a law that he has broken and push THAT. Otherwise, there is really nothing you can do about it except do what you are doing, which is using your creative process to show men what a good choice they made to stay away from irrational and bitter women who self-motivate to fabricate charges as you have just done here at length.

    1
    6
  45. Dave from Oz says:

    In the wake of the MeToo movement, it has also been said that a reason for the rule is to prevent men from being wrongfully accused of inappropriate behavior.

    One sentence. This “journalist” gives one sentence to the real reason for all of this. And even then distances hiself from it with “it has been said that”.

    Interestingly, this is what chaperones were always about. They were not about protecting women, they were mostly about protecting men from false breach-of-promise lawsuits. Google “the heart-balm racket”, you’ll find stories from a century ago about what these days they call “me too”. It has always been a thing.

  46. Dave from Oz says:

    @wr: Yes, because many women are concerned that if they’re alone with a man he will molest or rape them and many men are concerned that if they molest or rape the woman they’re alone with they will be unfairly accused of rape or molestation.

    Replace “man” with “negro” and see how this sounds.

    1
    1
  47. Wr says:

    @hippiefreak: Ping.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @hippiefreak: Wow! Calling you a misogynist seems so unfair to the rest of them. Do you do on-line gaming by any chance?

    2
    1
  49. KM says:

    @hippiefreak:

    No chaperone is needed when applying the Graham rule. I am not convinced you are thinking things through, such is your fury.

    Actually, you and yours aren’t. This is one place where there’s hundreds of years of traditional, conservative etiquette to follow for one to avoid impropriety between the sexes…. and yet, he’s not doing it. See, the whole concept of a chaperone is to avoid false accusations. To literally never be alone with the opposite sex. It’s the religiously-approved way to deal with these concerns. Instead of telling the woman you can’t meet with her, you bring someone with you. Problem solved. Instead, the Graham Rule just goes “nope”. Men it seems don’t like the idea of someone who there just to observe them to protect their chastity. They’re rather tell the woman no rather then inconvenience themselves by getting a third party.

    Others above have recommended body cams as well since it’s 2019 and all. But no – for a 15 hour ride along, it’s better to just tell the girl to stay home rather then take a simple measure to protect yourself while including everyone. Because that’s not bullying at all.

    irrational and bitter women

    Sure, buddy. It’s them evil women folk out to get ya. Keep saying that when Foster eventually ends up in a scandal and it comes out this little rule stunt of his was him priming the pump. Those who cry about protecting their virtue are usually the dirtiest.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @hippiefreak:

    When MeToo started to kick it into high gear that women could have success in damaging men’s careers and lives on the strength of her accusation alone

    Is this what happened to you? I’m soooo sorry! [Insert crying emoji here to show my sincerity] I was in the business world and academic world for just under 50 years before my retirement, and I have to admit, I was quite lucky in that I was never accused of any improprieties during my whole 2 or 3 careers. And I had the reputation of being an angry, mean spirited, SOB while I did blue collar work (in fact years later, a guy wanted to hire me because “I need an a$$hole like you in my dispatching office) and an unrepentant cracker during part of my academic career. I wonder what the difference between us is…

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: My personal take on this guy, Mike Pence, and Billy Graham is that I respect their desire to be circumspect in their behavior and to protect their image. On the other hand, I really would prefer for my reputation to be such that I never had to worry about being circumspect because nobody would believe that I would be “that kind of a guy.”

    Maybe we no longer live in a world where that works. Sad.

    ETA: @grumpy realist: Good suggestion!!!! 🙂

  52. hippiefreak says:

    KM, who cares about a chaperone except you can see no other solution! I don’t care! I won’t be alone with anybody if I don’t want to be, and if you don’t like it, that’s tough.

    You are here, in a thread about men avoiding false accusations, and you belabor to fabricate a boatload of scenarios on a man whom you have not even met! If that isn’t the most amazing thing. Case closed. You don’t have sense enough to be embarrassed. In fact, you will double-down on your next post, that is how far gone you are.

    Maybe you need to have your extended conversation with someone who is paid to agree with you? Find some peace before it’s too late for you.

    It is a known thing that women go bonkers if they think men are ignoring them. That would explain the energy you have put into this defense of yours in attempting to control other people.

    It’s a new day. More and more men ain’t buying what you are selling. Fewer lapdogs for you to control.

    The last word is yours, of course. Bye.

    1
    3
  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “In fact, Graham himself didn’t and he’s the one pointed out the whole sexual misunderstanding bit. You’d think a pastor who’s not down with homosexuality would have thought to include that little bit of wisdom….”

    I see Billy Graham as pretty much a pre-Stonewall person. The idea that a man would out himself in order to accuse Graham of misconduct with a gay is pretty far fetched for the era.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @hippiefreak: My mistake. Who does a man apply the Graham rule to, outside of himself?
    Oh… I dunno
    the guy he has a “private meeting” with?
    the guy he goes out for a drink/coffee with?
    the guy he meets for lunch?
    the guy in the restroom next to him?
    the guy at the highway rest stop?
    the guy he’s giving a ride home to?
    the guy he meets in a bar/restaurant?
    the guy he’s giving an interview to at a campaign stop?
    the guy filming his campaign commercial/YouTube?

    Basically, any situation where “woman” is the key word in the sentence. The street runs both ways now.

    ETA: I promise I will stop feeding the troll now. (But it was fun. 🙂 )

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @hippiefreak:
    I must admit, I never thought I’d see the day when men unable to attract woman made a political stand out of it. Maybe the government should intervene to get you laid, incel? Like Food Stamps, it could be Sex Worker Coupons.

    I feel so old-fashioned. In ‘my day’ it was embarrassing to discover that you’re so loathsome no woman will waste time on you. No one would have talked about it. Now of course you’re a victim. Poor baby. I’d say I understand but having never had a problem with women, I really don’t. Have you tried showering?

    6
    2
  56. al Ameda says:

    After the article was published, Mr. Foster responded on Twitter that he and his wife had committed to following the Billy Graham rule before he announced his candidacy.

    “I’m sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife,” he wrote.

    Essentially, his wife agreed to be a ‘hostage shield’ for her husband’s political purposes – ‘all you female reporters out there, don’t come any closer or … ‘

  57. Hal_10000 says:

    1) I’m *somewhat* sympathetic to his overall point, that you don’t want people to be whispering that something is going on (or to be falsely accused). I’ve more often seen this in the context of minors — e.g., my university has rules in place for underage students about not being alone with them, not closing doors, not driving them places, etc.

    2) But … any sympathy I may have had evaporated the second he tried to monetize it. The sacred defenders of propriety need to find better champions.

    2
    1
  58. wr says:

    @Dave from Oz: “Replace “man” with “negro” and see how this sounds.”

    Yes, shockingly, if you change the subject of just about any sentence it will sound different, because it will be a different sentence with a different meaning. Thank you for your astonishing insight.

  59. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t know about incel but he certainly is from a redpill forum. Not all redpillers are incels but a lot of them sure are..

    They tend to have this style of posting where they try overly hard to seem smart in their post while ignoring inconvenient realities. They also tend to generalize all females as being the same “hamster” minded simpletons. The inconvenient reality this one is ignoring is the reality that a gay man can make an accusation same as a straight woman. So if one is worried about being falsely accused then logically the rule should be applied to men as well as women. After all not all gay men are the stereotypical flamboyant obvious type.

    As for Mr Foster well he should be the one to bear the inconvenience of this not the women trying to do their jobs. He should be the one to insure an impartial observer is always present to fulfill HIS desire.

    EDIT : Also notice that Hippie seems to be taking a lot of this personally. The discussion is about Robert but to Hippie it’s really all about himself.

  60. Frank says:

    @Doug Mataconis: in the world of believe all women this man is 100% correct. The difference is most Republicans don’t back a one-trick-pony and don’t follow ideology blindly like democrats. Its funny how you people get all preachy and high and mighty yet democrats are the party of the KKK and the very people who fought against women’s rights. The worst part is you people sit there are get all judgey when someone preemptively takes away one of your strategies to destroy people yet when one of you get caught and literally JAILED for crimes you are so quick to forgive this minor transgression… poor Jeffery and his Pizza-Gate pals…

  61. Frank says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, you just screwed up and should probably leave all your liberal leanings behind now before its too late… see you said you pen books for 14 YO girls yet you are a white male… this is a liberal progressive sin as you should know. You cannot possibly understand what 14 YO girls want to read or know about at all so you need to resign from your career immediately! Just ask Scarlette Johnason about her thwarted transgender movie role because she could not possibly understand. Granted hot garbage comes to mind when I think about all the Alphabet community nonsense associated with gender dysphoria becoming normalized and hormone blockers for prepubescent children but this is what liberalism and progressiveness has done to everything it touches… made it toxic and deadly. Sad but hey look at Monster or Indeed and post your resume now and pray they don’t speak of this ever again.

  62. @Frank:

    Since you’re apparently new here, I suggest you read our comment policy. Specifically this part:

    Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    Also, comments should be on-topic rather than the clearly personal attack on Michael that you engaged in.

    Again, since you’re new here I’ll let you off with a warning. Future violations could result in deletion of comments and/or a ban.