Food Network star and celebrity cook Sandra Lee is getting flamed for her response -- or rather lack thereof -- during a recent appearance to raise awareness of hunger at a food bank in upstate New York.
Even though Lee's PR people specifically forbade the media from asking questions about her significant other -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo -- a journalist from 13WHAM took the liberty of ignoring these instructions and asked the following asinine question:
You definitely seem like you want to detach your interests, professionally, personally, and obviously volunteer-wise from those of your boyfriend, can you tell us why? Because I know you laid low during the campaign understandably, can you tell folks why you’re drawing that firm line? Why you’re dodging little questions here and there when it comes to the Governor?
Then, when Lee's PR person cut off the journalist and told him his photographer wasn't welcome for the rest of the event, he got all pissy.
His justification for asking the question despite the request not to? He says that "readers needed a word or two about why Ms. Lee would not so much as mention the job her boyfriend just began … a job that includes governing some 19 million New Yorkers."
Moreover, he reasons that the press release for the event said that Lee "has pledged to use her added notoriety as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s significant other to raise awareness of hunger in New York State." Therefore, in his mind, questions about her personal relationship with her boyfriend should have been fair game.
True, the press release was misleading, but perhaps that was simply an oversight on the part of Lee's PR company. Regardless, the fact remains that on the day of the event, Lee's PR people specifically banned questions about Cuomo; yet, this journalist felt it appropriate to badger Lee with a question on exactly that topic. Protocols at press events are pretty easy to figure out: Certain topics are always off limits. As a journalist, the challenge is how to work around it.
But in this case, the journalist acts in a blatantly disrespectful manner -- during an event about charity! -- and Lee gets accused of being too sensitive? Give me a break.
Long before she was Cuomo's girlfriend, Lee made a name for herself as a TV and media personality. Is it really that difficult to comprehend that perhaps she wants to be taken seriously because of the career she has built and not because she also happens to be a politician's girlfriend?
Image via Splashnews.com