TV reporter Charles Wooley defends calling Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ‘attractive’ on 60 Minutes

The 60 Minutes presenter who in an interview with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called her “attractive” and questioned when her baby was conceived, has defended his comments.

The remarks were met with mixed response by social media users after the episode aired on Sunday night.

The presenter, Charles Wooley, was unapologetic for avoiding talking about Ardern’s policies and defended his comment about how attractive Ardern was.

Wooley said during the interview on 60 Minutes last night “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”.

“If you say somebody is attractive, my thesaurus defines it as 50 choices from good looking to gorgeous to likeable, there is so many different meanings,” Wooley told Newstalk ZB.

He called the social media blowback “Orwellian” and akin to the thought police.

“It’s a bit Orwellian you know I think you got to be so careful with newspeak and thought crime and everything else, we suffer the same thing in Australia.”

George Orwell’s novel 1984 is about a secret agency known as the thought police who a punish any criminal, personal and political thoughts that are not approved.

Wooley did not regret the interview as the show rated well and Ardern was “terrific”, however his wife had accused him of “gushing”, he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she's not offended by questions asked in a 60 Minutes interview which critics panned as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’s not offended by questions asked in a 60 Minutes interview which critics panned as “patronising” and “sexist”. Photo / Doug Sherring

Australian residents would not be interested in hearing about issues of New Zealand housing or tertiary fees, so he did not raise them.

“On 60 Minutes they want to see this wonderful couple. I just loved being with them, I thought they were so much fun, such a breath of fresh air, you know it was just terrific to be with them.”

He said reports of Ardern being uncomfortable were not true, a press secretary had said after the show wrapped Ardern had enjoyed the interview, describing it as a “chat”.

Ardern said today, during a weekly press conference with reporters in the Beehive, she was taken aback, but not offended by the interview with her.

The question was a case of “too much information” but Ardern said she did not feel the question or interviewer Charles Wooley’s comments on her looks were sexist.

Joking that “perhaps because I’m from Morrinsville” Arden said she had not felt offended during the interview and that nothing in particular about it had stood out for her at the time of filming.

Wooley also came under fire for questioning the young leader, who is pregnant, about her due date.

“One really important political question that I want to ask you, and that is, what exactly is the date that the baby’s due?” he said.

Photo / 60 Minutes Photo / 60 Minutes

Wooley would have been fired by his executive producer if he had not asked Ardern about when her baby was conceived.

“I’ve conceived five children so it’s no surprise to me that children get conceived in joy … stress or in any time.”

Wooley was slammed by viewers after his “attractive” comment in what has been described a “patronising” and “repugnant” interview.

Viewers were left furious at Wooley’s remarks with many flocking to social media to express their outrage.

“Charles Wooley interviewing Jacinda Ardern on 60 Minutes would have to go down as the most patronising interview for a long time,” one critic said.

Another said she was disgusted at Wooley’s “sexist comments” and was left wondering if there would be any focus on Ardern’s achievements.

“I assumed 60 Mins would have a second half of the Jacinda interview after the break that talked about her policies and political achievements. But … nothing. All we got was sexist comments about her looks and baby talk. Ugh. Absolutely s**tful journalism … *changes channel*”, she wrote.