Russian TV hosts mock White House press secretary for not being ‘white, heterosexual male’

The hosts of a Russian nightly talk show have taken aim at new White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for being the first Black, gay woman to hold the position.

Ms Jean-Pierre took to the podium of the White House briefing room on Monday to hail “barrier-breaking people’’ who she said had enabled her to reach the position despite being Black and LGBT+.

Addressing the appointment of Ms Jean-Pierre this week, hosts of the state-owned Russia-1 channel said the 47-year-old had not been chosen on merit and ridiculed her for not being “white, heterosexual male”.

“She admits [to] not being chosen for professional abilities,” said Andrei Sidorchik, a political analyst, to his co-hosts, “because she is a dark skinned immigrant, etc, and this was secured by her predecessors”.

He continued: “And when she makes mistakes that will be her excuse: ‘I’m not a professional, I was chosen for other reasons’ ”.

Evgeny Popov, a member of Russia’s parliament and TV propagandist, said earlier in the segment that the new White House press secretary would not last.

“The girl will make it for a month or two, then she’ll be replaced, to your satisfaction. They’ll replace her with a white, heterosexual male,” he said, taking aim at her sexuality.

His co-host Olga Skabeyeva replied: “Let’s live long enough to see it”.

Popov, who last month called on Americans to re-elect the former president Donald Trump, argued that Ms Jean-Pierre also lacked “what it takes” to represent the White House.

“I read many books, graduated from a university, my PhD thesis is on such and such a topic, I speak many languages…but that’s not what it takes to represent the United States at the White House,” he said.

The hosts laughed as he said it was more important “to look like her” and added: “At least she’s cute”.

Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, who shared the video with English subtitles late on Wednesday, described the attack on Ms Jean-Pierre as “pretty typical for bigoted Russian television”.

“Kremlin propagandists on Russian state TV give a warm welcome to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre,” wrote Davis, who monitors Russian media.

“This revealing clip features racism, sexism and homophobia. It’s pretty typical for bigoted Russian television, but don’t watch it if you have high blood pressure.”

While dozens of Twitter users agreed with her analysis, the journalist added that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson had issued very similar statements last week questioning the new press secretary credentials.

“Karine Jean-Pierre is our first out LGBTQ+ White House press secretary and that’s all you need to know,” Carlson told viewers. “It’s a good thing, shut up and celebrate. That’s why she got the job.”