Female reporters constantly face on-air harassment while on duty
Son Ha Tran
The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has been the sight of several unpleasant scenes involving news reporters the past couple of days.
After two incidents of reporters being harassed on camera, a third reporter faced physical and verbal intimidation on Tuesday during a live broadcast.
Julia Guimaraes, a Brazilian reporter delivering updates from Yekaterinburg, Russia for SportTV, was forcibly kissed by a man while she was live on air.
The video shows she resisted and told the man to back off and never do that again.
Great response from Brazilian TV journalist Julia Guimaraes of Sportv to unacceptable behaviour. Not easy to show such restraint in the face of harassment. pic.twitter.com/eFVZz6gdMA
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) June 24, 2018
“Don’t do this! Never do this again,” Guimaraes said to the man. “Don’t do this, I don’t allow you to do this, never, OK? This is not polite, this is not right. Never do this to a woman, OK? Respect.”
Guimaraes was praised by her colleagues and activists for standing up to improper physical contact.
World Cup reporter Julia Guimaraes’ fury at on-camera kiss attempt https://t.co/gFZP6zECQ1
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 26, 2018
The unpleasant encounters between reporters and soccer fans threaten to damage the image of the sport’s biggest event. The assault on Guimaraes was the third incident since the start of the World Cup a reporter was inappropriately approached and assaulted on camera.
Colombian reporter Julieth González Therán was harassed by a Russian man while reporting for Deutsche Welle on the first day of the World Cup.
The incident can be seen here (00:13).
Sexual harassment is not okay. It needs to stop. In football, and elsewhere.pic.twitter.com/O0S1a1F4Es
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) June 20, 2018
The man was spotted shouting in Russian while running towards González Therán before grabbing her breast and attempting to kiss her.
González Therán harshly criticized the action saying, “We do not deserve this treatment. We are equally valuable and professionals. I share the joy of football, but we must identify the limits of affection and harassment.”
Malin Wahlberg, a Swedish correspondent reporting on the World Cup in Russia, was pushed, touched and forcible kissed while conducting an interview with fans from her own country.
Jag älskar verkligen fotboll. Men hatet mot @strandhall tidigare i veckan och mot @JimmyDurmaz21 ikväll gör mig fan mörkrädd. Som att det inte vore nog ska ni läsa Bank om hur ”fans” betedde sig mot @MalinWahlberg_ Skärp er för i helvete! https://t.co/4JMgDXkTjO
— Jakob Andersson (@Jakob_baba) June 23, 2018
All of the three incidents have sparked outrage, especially among the online community.
Journalists and publications around the world are strongly condemning these actions, citing that such physical contact is beyond disrespectful.
Julieth Gonzalez Theran was just trying to do her job https://t.co/6KEsDBD2jA
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) June 22, 2018
Most of the harassed reporters kept their composure after their respective incidents, not allowing the aggressors to interrupt their broadcasts.
This is nothing new for Canadian female reporters.
CBC reporter Megan Batchelor got an unwanted kiss from a man at a Squamish Valley music festival in B.C. in 2015.
“The incident was just not ok and what’s happening now still isn’t ok,” Batchelor told Humber News. “These are people simply trying to do their jobs and I think if the people yelling FHINTP thought for a second about how they would feel about that happening at their work, they wouldn’t think it’s so funny.”
Just had my first #FHINTP assault. At least it wasn’t on camera. Alarming that anyone still does it after all the shaming.
— Megan Batchelor (@MegsBatchelor) May 16, 2015
Batchelor said she is still afraid of an harassment incident coming out of nowhere while reporting.
“#FHINTP” is an insulting acronym many female Canadian reporters have been verbally assaulted with in the past few years.
“Professionally I still do live hits from busy areas but the threat of being yelled at or assaulted is never far from my mind,” she said.
Radio-Canada television reporter Valerie-Micaela Bain was on air August 2017 at the Montreal music festival Osheaga when a man she didn’t know approached and kissed her without consent.
Harassing a reporter while working could lead to criminal charges in Canada.