This post has been updated.
Hillary Clinton supporters who argue their candidate is a target for subtle and overt sexism picked up new ammunition after Monday's presidential debate when Fox News Channel's Brit Hume described the Democratic nominee's appearance during the event as "composed, smug sometimes, not necessarily attractive."
On the list of things not to say to avoid being called sexist, remarks about a female politician's attractiveness rank pretty high. Hume, a veteran broadcaster who has been hosting "On the Record" since Greta Van Susteren's departure from Fox News earlier this month, surely knows this.
It is possible that that Hume was not actually rating Clinton's physical attractiveness and was merely trying very clumsily to say that she did not, in his opinion, radiate the kind of personal warmth that might attract undecided voters — or that the "smug" demeanor he perceived wasn't necessarily a good look for her. (Update: Hume sought to clarify his remark on the air Tuesday: "I was just talking about demeanor. We are not yet living in a society where a female candidates demeanor cannot be criticized. We’re just not there yet, but at the rate we’re going we may get there.")
But he said what he said, and viewers shredded him for it on Twitter.
— Hilary Escajeda (@HilaryEscajeda) September 27, 2016
— Erik Pollom (@ErikPollom) September 27, 2016
Good lord. Brit Hume of Fox News on Hillary Clinton "she looked composed, smug, but not necessarily attractive".
— Shaun Hundle (@shundle) September 27, 2016
— Laurent Lawrence (@LaurentLawrence) September 27, 2016
.@brithume just said on national TV that Hillary's face was "not attractive." Tell me again that sexism isn't a factor in this election.
— Meghan Winch (@WinchMD) September 27, 2016
Brit Hume says Hillary Clinton looked smug and not always attractive - what kind of description is that of the Dem nominee for president?
— wendy schiller (@profwschiller) September 27, 2016
It was a good night for Clinton on the debate stage. She painted Donald Trump as sexist by reciting some of the nasty things he has said about women without crying foul over any sexist treatment directed at her.
Clinton probably won't complain publicly about Hume's remark, either, but her backers are already airing a grievance on her behalf.