Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded on Thursday to a story produced by a local Fox news station that highlighted sexist comments about her appearance, calling the piece “way out of line.”
After Whitmer’s first State of the State address on Tuesday, Fox 2 News in Detroit ran a story about her choice of attire, claiming that people posting on social media were focused more on her dress than on her speech. The story highlighted particularly offensive comments about her dress and body, citing comments on the station’s Facebook page below a livestream of her address.
Reporter Erika Erickson interspersed more reactions to Whitmer’s appearance from unidentified individuals in and around a gas station before adding commentary from a psychology professor about the double standard that women in leadership positions face.
In a series of tweets, Whitmer said she has been teased about her body since she was a child.
“That @Fox2News story was way out of line. I’m tough, I can take it,” she wrote. “I’ve got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I’ve got your back.”
Erickson but stood up for her piece on Twitter, arguing that the “point of the story is clearly being missed.”
She said the story defended the “beautiful” governor and called out internet trolls who attacked Whitmer.
Asked for comment, Erickson referred HuffPost to a statement from Fox 2 news director Kevin Roseborough that was added to the online version of the story. He said journalists at the station were “taken aback” by the onslaught of negative Facebook comments about the governor’s appearance.
“We chose not to ignore the comments and to instead examine them through person-on-the-street interviews and an expert’s opinion on the double standard faced by female leaders,” he said, in part. “This is not a subject that should be turned away from, and we have extended an invitation to the governor to talk to us about this further.”
Watch Fox 2 News’ report and read Roseborough’s statement here.