TVNZ presenters Renee Wright and Jenny-May, both visibly pregnant, were at the centre of one unhappy viewer’s TV Guide complaint yesterday.
"I have no problem 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," wrote Lower Hutt resident John Rook.
Clarkson, who is expecting twins, was named specifically in the 69-year-old’s rant; “Who is responsible for allowing a sports reporter in a very pregnant state to remain on screen?" he demanded to know.
Despite the angry letter, a TVNZ spokesperson said the company has no reservations about putting pregnant presenters on air and would continue to support the women however they thought best.
"We're thrilled for Jenny-May. TVNZ is fully supportive of women working during pregnancy and supports their return to work. 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.
"As well as her One News duties, she's currently filming segments which explore pregnancy for TV One's lifestyle series Whanau Living. Jenny-May's a talented and professional broadcaster. It's her choice to decide at what point she takes a break from her role and we'll support her decision 100 per cent."
The general public has also showed unwavering support for Clarkson and Wright who, under the Equal Employment Opportunities Act, are protected by law.
Out-of-touch Rook later apologized for his comments and said he regretted writing the letter.
Employers around New Zealand are being reminded of the potential discrimination pregnant employees may face – especially when in a public facing role – after two high-profile workers were criticised for not standing down.