Jacinda Ardern has spoken out after being accused of ‘barging’ a sign language interpreter out the way during a press conference, explaining how it was an accident and she has apologised. You can see the moment here:
A clip of the New Zealand Prime Minister bumping into the sign language interpreter on stage went viral over the weekend with some accusing Ardern of being ‘disrespectful’ towards the woman.
Now, Ardern has attempted to clear up the situation, explaining that it was simply an accident.
Speaking to reporters as she headed into parliament today, she said: “She was to my left and I was trying to not get in the way of my colleagues and cross over them and maintain social distance.
“But of course, in doing so, I cut her off – not intentionally, as you can imagine, and I apologised to her at the time.”
The incident happened during a televised conference and in the clip, Ardern stepped away from the microphone but edged the interpreter out of the shot.
Credit: New Zealand Herald/YouTube
The interpreter made her way back on screen and looked less than impressed by the whole thing.
At this point, it appeared as though Ardern realised what she had done and seemed to turn and apologise to the interpreter, who politely smiled back.
The clip was met with a bit of a backlash online, with some social media users accusing the PM of being ‘disrespectful’.
Posting on Twitter, one person said: “So disrespectful. I used to think she was cool but far from it now.”
Another wrote: “What a shame. Consideration zero.”
But others took it for a harmless mistake it was, writing: “She clearly did not barge her. The interpreter steps away and it’s clear the PM hasn’t noticed she’s there.
“They smile at each other when she realises her mistake.”
While a second added: “She was just moving out of the way for the other speaker to come on, she even smiled at her afterwards.”
Lachlan Keating CEO of Deaf Aotearoa took to Twitter to suggest the incident had been blown out of proportion.
Sharing an article about the clip, he wrote: “The PM didn’t push or barge, and the #NZSL interpreter wasn’t unhappy.”