Mississippi candidate bans female journalist from campaign trail

Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, a first term lawmaker who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, addresses editors and publishers at the annual Mississippi Press Association Candidates Forum. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

MISSISSIPPI (WTHR) — A female reporter was denied access to a Mississippi candidate's campaign trail because he didn't want to spend time alone with a woman who is not his wife.

Robert Foster's staff told NBC News that if she wanted to report on the campaign, she would have to bring a male colleague along with her.

The Mississippi Reporter, Larrison Campbell, told NBC News that Foster's team insisted she comply, even though his male campaign manager would be with them. Foster said he didn't want to risk the optics of people thinking that he and she had an improper relationship.

In an email, the candidate said the "liberal media" and Hollywood "are attacking me for my Christian faith and choosing not to be alone with another woman," according to a report in Mississippi Today.

"We wanted to let our readers know why Foster wouldn't receive the same coverage as his two opponents," Campbell told NBC News. "We tried to offer the campaign the same opportunity, and they refused it."

Campbell identifies as gay and said she doesn't believe the request ha to do with her sexuality.

"It's not about the fact that I'm not even a woman who would be likely to have an affair with this candidate. It's the fact that a woman in a work context is deemed potentially inappropriate and immediately sexualized."

Foster is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the Aug. 6 primary against Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.

Foster said he refuses to change his moral stance regardless of popular opinion.