The French presidential candidate François Fillon, already beset by scandal, has been lambasted for sexist remarks after suggesting a leading French journalist was unsure of her brief because she had been on maternity leave.
During the candidates’ last major television appearance before France’s closely-fought first round vote on Sunday, the respected France 2 journalist Léa Salamé pressed Fillion for details on his plans to revolutionise France’s social security system.
“I understand why you’re asking me this question, because you have been absent for a while and I congratulate you, but I have already answered that question 20 times, including on this programme,” he said.
Co-hosting the show 15 Minutes pour Convaincre or 15 Minutes to Convince, which gave the 11 candidates a quarter of an hour each to defend their positions on Thursday evening, Salamé pushed Fillion to clarify his position. “It’s extremely clear,” he said. Laughing, he added: “By asking the question again, it is you making it less clear.”
Critics immediately branded Fillion’s condescending and misogynist.
The journalist Thibaut Pézerat tweeted: “Am I dreaming, or did Fillon just accuse Salamé of not following the campaign because she was pregnant?”.
Another Twitter user, Sascha Gabizon, tweeted:
The journalist Caroline Franc tweeted: “Fillon’s allusion to Salamé’s maternity leave is typical of the man’s misogyny. I feel sick.”
It is not the first time Fillon has faced accusations of sexism. In 2009, he told the junior minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet that she would not be promoted to a full ministerial job because she was pregnant. The rightwing candidate shrugged off the comment, saying it was clumsy and a bad joke, and that he had apologised to her at the time.
Source link The Guardian