Ardern stunned by ‘disrespectful’ question
Jacinda Ardern expertly dodged an invasive question about her appearance during a cringe-worthy exchange on breakfast television Monday morning.
Speaking on New Zealand's The AM Show, the NZ Prime Minister got stuck into "rude" host Ryan Bridge after he asked whether she'd been dying her hair because it's going grey.
"Why are you dyeing it anyway? Is it going grey or something?" Mr Bridge had said.
"Never … never … never … that's not a polite question to ask anyone - I was about to say a lady - but anyone, actually," she said, laughing uncomfortably.
After a brief silence she added that it was simply a "little touch-up," with the host then justifying the question by commenting that her high-profile job would be likely to cause stress.
"Looks good, Prime Minister. And I only mention the grey hair because you are the prime minister and it does tend to age people. No harm intended, alright?," he clarified.While Ms Ardern agreed, smiling, the tension continued throughout the interview as they tried to move past the awkward moment.
"No, it does, it does, I fully acknowledge that. Yep. Thank you for the reminder," she said.
Bridge's question comes after Ms Ardern's fiance Clarke Gayford tweeted about a home beauty treatment he'd assisted with over the weekend.
"Helped dye partner's hair and gave daughter a haircut with scissors I bought at supermarket for $6. Remarkably both parties still talking to me," he wrote.
Helped dye partners hair and gave daughter a haircut with scissors I bought at supermarket for $6. Remarkably both parties still talking to me.— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) May 17, 2020
Reacting to Bridge's insensitive comment, viewers labelled him "rude" and "disrespectful", suggesting that had the Prime Minister been male, he would have behaved differently.
"It was a bit gross and personally intrusive. Mostly I just found it weird. Is this a normal behaviour from this guy or was it just because he was interviewing the PM and wanted the segment and himself to be memorable," one woman wrote.
Another called it "extremely distasteful".
"No respect and if this was a male Prime Minister he would not behave like this. Absolutely dreadful and extremely distasteful questioning," they said.
It wasn't the first comment about her appearance Ms Ardern has had to navigate in interviews as Prime Minister.
In 2018, 60 Minutes reporter Charles Wooley declared how "attractive" he finds Ms Ardern during an on-air chat.
"I've met a lot of Prime Ministers in my time, but none too young and not so many so smart, and never one so attractive," he said, with viewers slamming the "patronising" comments.
Today's The AM Show interview comes just weeks after the Prime Minister lambasted a different reporter on the same show.
Earlier this month, Ms Ardern's quick-witted quip to shut down persistent questioning by host Duncan Garner during a heated interview about easing the country's coronavirus lockdown went viral.
Mr Garner had repeatedly asked Ms Ardern what it would take for her to agree to easing lockdown rules, to which Ms Ardern replied: "I didn't realise you were an epidemiologist - congratulations on your new qualification".
"If you want to get personal then that's fine, but I'm just asking a question," Garner said.