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LITTLE ROCK — The runner-up from last year's "Babe Bracket," a radio station promotion that places local female journalists in a tournament-style contest whether they want to be in it or not, started a protest on Twitter on Thursday.

Winnie Wright, a reporter at KTHV, said her station's management asked her and her colleagues to not speak publicly about the contest, but after Arkansas' governor told the radio station that "everybody enjoys" the contest, Wright took to Twitter and quickly had a following.

Wright used the hashtag "#morethanababe" on Thursday. Soon after, female journalists from other TV markets weighed in with their support. Some also shared their own stories.

"On a daily basis, while I'm working to bring important stories to the people of Arkansas, I am cat-called, have obscenities yelled at me from cars, have men comment on my appearance in a professional setting, and worse. But I am #morethanababe," Wright wrote Thursday in a series of tweets that included a list of her professional accomplishments.

By the end of the day, Marie Claire magazine, the Radio Television Digital News Association and female journalists from markets ranging from New York and Chicago to Macon and Mobile had weighed in.

"Female meteorologists aren't 'weather ladies'. We are scientists," wrote Melissa Nord of WUSA in Washington.

Some print and online Arkansas journalists also posted using the hashtag, including Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times and several reporters who work at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Isabella Moller, a KARK/KLRT journalist in Little Rock, said the local journalists were hopeful their message would spread.

"The goal of today's hashtag was to give the journalists and meteorologists in Little Rock and across the country a chance to say we want to be judged on how hard we work, not on our looks," she said.

A lingerie shop sponsors the "Babe Bracket," carried on KABZ after originating at another Little Rock station in 1997. Promotional material features a silhouette of a scantily clad woman behind a tournament bracket that includes photos of the reporters and anchorwomen.

"We're more than what you see on TV," Moller said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson went on KABZ last week and told the show's hosts, "Y'all have some fun and everybody enjoys it." The governor also said the contest was done in "good spirit" and that people shouldn't be "too politically correct." He later issued a statement saying he wasn't endorsing the game.

"All women should be treated with respect, and any measurement of workplace success should be based upon talent and performance," Hutchinson said in the statement.

Radio host David Bazzel has said the station intends to continue the contest next month.

"We agree they all are certainly more than babes ... that's just not broadcasters, that's female school teachers, principals, first responders and law enforcement," Bazzel said Thursday. "We love the hashtag and agree with it."

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  • notbot
    February 15, 2018 at 9:04 p.m.

    Bazzel is pure grab em by the p****y immature kid. Follows Trump like a lap dog.

  • wolfman
    February 15, 2018 at 11:13 p.m.

    What a bunch of worked up wusses the ladies are. It's all fun and games. People get butt hurt over everything these days

  • PopMom
    February 16, 2018 at 7:10 a.m.

    Breaking news: Stories are breaking about Trump's affair with Playmate Karen McDougal. Also, Bannon is refusing to testify before Congress on the Russia investigation because Trump has asked him to invoke "executive privilege." It's not a good week for Trump.

  • hogpaul
    February 16, 2018 at 7:14 a.m.

    If Winnie Wright thinks it's so bad, why did she ask for viewers and people from her church to call in and vote for her last year. Also, I don't remember the last time a tv station hired a "dog ugly" girl to be the on screen talent. Of all these years, I don't remember any of the winners refusing the trophy. Lighten up! Ladies, being attractive is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • RaylanGivens
    February 16, 2018 at 7:33 a.m.

    Free publicity, seems to be working well! Maybe the TV stations can let us know when they hire a size 22 woman to do the news or weather and not be whiny little hypocrites

  • honesthap
    February 16, 2018 at 7:49 a.m.

    Melissa Nord says she is a "scientist"; gee whiz, that is great! I would suppose a weather scientist get paid more than a weather person. With this revelation, I am sure Ned will want to be introduced as: "And Now, Channel 7's Chief Weather Scientist........". People who are trained to be meteorologist and weather forecasters are highly trained and we tune in to get their forecast. Keep up the good work, guys and gals (oops....Ladies)!

  • femalehogfan
    February 16, 2018 at 8:03 a.m.

    she's job hunting in a bigger market.........

  • hah406
    February 16, 2018 at 8:11 a.m.

    Much ado about nothing. Ms. Wright ought to be happy for the free publicity. The women in the bracket get to come on the radio, talk about their careers, their journalistic endeavors, and causes that they champion. The guys at the Buzz aren't Howard Stern. They don't ask them to go topless during the interview! I am all for the #metoo movement, but this kind of spillover seems to be a step too far.

  • dumblikeme
    February 16, 2018 at 8:39 a.m.

    So if she is recognized for her journalism, will she #morethanajournalist as well...lest we think that's all she is?

  • titleist10
    February 16, 2018 at 9:20 a.m.

    I agree with huh406 people have gotten too sensitive relax enjoy life have you ever seen an ugly/fat reporter