Getting thrown out of a Hollywood press junket and what it taught me about motherhood

Dec 04, 2021

A few years ago I had to bring my son to a press junket at a big London hotel.

It was a childcare emergency (the person who was going to look after him had to go to hospital) so I took him into London in the buggy not thinking that much about it.

The press junket was for a family film, and since the whole film was about children surely they wouldn’t mind that I came for an hour with an ACTUAL CHILD???!

Hopefully he would nap happily, I would come up with a few reasonable questions for the participating movie stars and I wouldn’t feel too much like Hugh Grants character in Notting Hill.

Interviewing film stars is not something that I do very often…

In retrospect I was being VERY NAÏVE and VERY SCANDINAVIAN.

As I discovered, bringing a child to a press junket is NOT something you can do in Britain.

To cut a long story short the big name Hollywood director PERSONALLY INTERVENED and had me thrown out, at which point I ended up in a corridor:

  • Heavily pregnant

  • Crying

  • Trying to comfort my son in the buggy

Then Lin-Manuel Miranda walked by (yes actually!)

He gave me pitiful looks but NOT free tickets to Hamilton (which I still haven’t forgiven him for btw.)

That was it!

It’s not in my top ten professional moments.

I was thinking about this particular incident this week. We have had a debate here in the UK about the parliamentarian Stella Creasy bringing a baby into work. She was told this was not allowed under parliamentarian rules.

Quite a few women have actually come out saying they think it was right BANNING THE BABY. They argue that children do not belong in the House of Commons. Babies disturb other people and there were lot’s of other things Stella Creasy could have done with her baby that day if she needed to attend this particular debate.

Usually the articles then go into great detail listing all of the other options:

  • She could have left baby in the crèche…

  • She could have left baby with her partner…

  • She could have taken proper maternity leave because babies don’t like being out in public…

  • She earns £80,000 a year, she could have hired a nanny…

  • Etc.

Yes we LOVE shaming mothers don’t we….

My personal opinion in the matter is the following:

  1. Is it ideal to bring a baby into parliament? NO.

  1. Do non ideal situations occur on a fairly regular basis particularly when newborns are involved? YES.

  2. Should we therefore be able to be flexible and nonjudgemental about these things? YES.

I also think something needs to be done about the assumption in Britain that all of this is only a women’s issue.

Men are parents too!

Why is the presence/non presence of babies in parliament (or anywhere else) just a discussion about MOTHERHOOD?!

The obvious way to reset the whole thing would be for the latest Boris- Johnson- baby to appear next summer strapped to its fathers chest in a sling while he is doing Prime Minister’s Questions.

The ensuing debate “Can men be both fathers and do demanding jobs?” would be VERY HEALTHY for this country.

And I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Saturday!


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