Women Reporters Covering the World Cup Face Sexual Harassment

It’s no secret that women face harassment at work. The entire #metoo movement has fought to expose the extent of that harassment. But exposing workplace harassment and eliminating it are two different battles, and as the women reporters covering the World Cup can tell you, there’s still a long way to go on that front.

What’s different about the harassment these reporters is facing, though, is that it’s not shrouded in secret, taking place behind closed doors. Shockingly, it’s happening right on live TV.

The first of these incidents involved Julieth González Therán, a reporter for German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle’s, Spanish channel. González Therán was doing a live report when a man groped her breast and kissed her cheek. She continued doing her job with a level of professionalism almost hard to imagine given the circumstances.

Then, she shared a video of the incident on her social media channels and gave Deutsche Welle permission to do the same, “for the purpose of showing what female sports reporters have to face while simply doing their job.”

“We do not deserve this treatment. We are equally as professional and deserving. I share the joy of football but we must identify the limits between affection and harassment,” she wrote.

The incident went viral, with countless people feeling outraged at harassment and plenty of others feeling apathetic or worse.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story. Over the course of the World Cup, several other women sports reporters were harassed and assaulted on TV, some more than once. Julia Guimarães, a reporter for TV Globo and SportTV, has had two similar experiences while reporting, the second of which went viral for her incredible reaction.

Guimarães was reporting when a man approached her and tried to kiss her. She dodged him and then told him, “Don’t do this. Never do this again, okay?”

“This is not polite, this is not right,” she continued. “Never do this to a woman.”

“It’s horrible. I feel helpless and vulnerable,” she said after the incident. “This time I responded but it’s sad people don’t understand why people feel they have the right to do that.”

She also called the incident “sad” and “shameful”.

This viral instances of harassment are not the only ones. Swedish journalist Malin Wahlberg was also grabbed and kissed while reporting on her team’s game against South Korea. Incidents involving at least two other journalists have also been reported.

Groping and kissing is not the only harassment female journalists have faced while reporting on the World Cup, they’ve also faced a barrage of criticism simply for doing their jobs.

In the UK, Vicki Sparks made history by becoming the first woman to commentate a World Cup game on live TV. Jason Cundy, a former Chelsea and Tottenham player, went on a UK talk show and said he prefers “to hear a male voice” and that female commentators are “too high-pitched.”

In Germany, a broadcaster filed a criminal complaint after their commentator Claudia Neumann faced endless online harassment.

“Certain people seem to have lost any sort of decency,” said Neumann. “Anything ‘other’ rubs them the wrong way.”

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

61 comments

Kelsey S
Kelsey S1 months ago

Thanks

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Maria P
Maria P2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Karen H
Karen H2 months ago

Past Member, sexual harassment is defined as "behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation." This was an unwelcome and inappropriate physical advance in a social setting (her workplace if you want to be technical). It was sexual harassment. It would be inappropriate if done to a male and it"s inappropriate when done to a female.

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you.

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Tania N
Tania N2 months ago

Thank you.

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