Russian media have doubled down on their sexist attacks on CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble, claiming her interview with Vladimir Putin was part of an American “special ops” mission.
Last week Mr Putin made misogynistic remarks to the Abu Dhabi-based journalist during an interview in Moscow, suggesting she was “too beautiful” to understand answers he was giving.
State media went on to attack Ms Gamble after the interview for Russian Energy Week as part of a coordinated effort to support the Russian president.
The controversy took a bizarre twist at the weekend, when Kremlin-backed media pundits and commentators claimed Ms Gamble was part of a counter-intelligence mission designed to embarrass Mr Putin.
It came after revelations in a recent book by former White House communications director Stephanie Grisham that Mr Putin had chosen attractive translators at meetings with Donald Trump to try to distract the president.
Ms Grisham wrote in her book I’ll Take Your Questions Now that Fiona Hill, former Russia adviser to the Trump administration, suspected Mr Putin had deliberately selected an attractive brunette woman to Mr Trump off.
During a discussion on the weekend edition of Russian state TV show Moscow.Kremlin.Putin., the panel of experts agreed that Ms Gamble was part of an operation by the Americans.
Ms Gamble did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has made light of the situation on Instagram.
On Sunday, she posted a photo of a cake showing Mr Putin’s face next to the words “too beautiful”.
“I have the best friends,” she captioned the photo, along with a laughing emoji.
Ms Gamble anchors CNBC’s Capital Connection from Abu Dhabi where she regularly interviews world leaders and international CEOs.
According to her online profile, she anchors the network’s coverage from the World Economic Forum in Davos each year and was the first western journalist to interview senior Saudi officials after the death of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
“Hadley is also a passionate advocate for women in the workplace and their advancement across the Arab world,” her profile states.
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