Pregnant Sports Presenter Called 'Embarrassing And An Eyesore'

by Elizabeth Licata
Originally Published: 

A man wrote to TV Guide to complain that a pregnant sports presenter was “embarrassing and an eyesore.”

Life is tough for a guy sitting at home watching sports on TV. One moment you’re just chilling out, drinking a beer, watching the game, and the next moment–oh my God, there is a pregnant woman on TV! Who let this happen? Aren’t there Standards and Practices for this? One such viewer was so distraught upon seeing a pregnant woman on TV recently that he actually wrote to TV Guide to complain that a pregnant woman was “embarrassing and an eyesore” and an affront to “common sense,” because obviously when a woman is pregnant she cannot report on sports. In fact, she should be safely confined to a dark cave until her children are in college or her stomach is flat again, whichever comes first.

According to Yahoo Parenting, 69-year-old New Zealander John Rook actually wrote to TV Guide under his own name to rail against the fact that Jenny-May Coffin, a sports presenter for TVNZ, was allowed to continue to do her job despite the fact that she was pregnant with twins.

“Who is responsible for allowing a sports presenter in a very pregnant state to remain on screen?” he asked. “I have no problem with seeing pregnant women in normal situations or places, but to have them remain on TV in a state which I feel is embarrassing and an eyesore? It’s time to replace them. So please, TVNZ, open your eyes and show some common sense. As for the presenters themselves, I wish them all the best for their new arrivals.
John A Rook
(Lower Hutt)”

Image via @alexkc

Coffin’s pregnancy did not affect her work as a sports presenter, and her work did not affect her pregnancy, so there’s no reason she should not be allowed to continue doing her job, even if a random guy sitting in a chair at home thinks that pregnant women should not be allowed on television.

Pregnancy can be a rough time. A person’s body changes enormously in bewildering ways and it can be tough to deal emotionally with those changes, even when one doesn’t have random sports viewers writing to national publications to complain publicly that one is an embarrassing eyesore. Being harassed by people like Rook only makes it worse.

“As a heavily pregnant woman I struggle with my own demons about my body changing shape, but I choose to stay in front of the camera to encourage others to be proud of the job that we are doing — creating life,” Coffin wrote on Facebook in response to the furor.

Fortunately, most of the responses to Rook’s letter have been overwhelmingly in support of Coffin and her right to continue working.

The most bewildering thing about Rook’s rant is that Rook actually has three children, and he has presumably spent a great deal of time in close proximity to a pregnant woman. One would think that would have demystified the experience for him.

“We’ve gone through childbirth, and it’s the best thing on Earth,” he said. “All I wanted to know was, who was responsible at TVNZ and at what stage they should stop presenting onscreen?”

To answer his question, Coffin and her doctors are responsible for determining whether or not she could continue to do her job while pregnant, and they decided it was just fine. For its part, TVNZ says it has no problem with Coffin’s remaining on television while pregnant.

“We’re thrilled for Jenny-May. TVNZ is fully supportive of women working during pregnancy and supports their return to work,” a spokesperson for the network told the New Zealand Herald. “Like a lot of Kiwi women, Jenny-May is working during her pregnancy. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last member of our news team to do so.”

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