Julia Guimarães had already written about the unpleasant “machismo” she says she and other female journalists are facing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as they are constantly outnumbered by male peers and the target of ridicule and unwanted advances from fans.
So when a wannabe-lothario sexually harassed her in the middle of a live broadcast — maybe as a joke, maybe in a drunken stupor, maybe just as a creep trying to take advantage of the situation — she was not about to smile, stick to her script and grit her teeth through the invasive encounter.
“Don’t do this! Never do this again,” she said to the adult 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.”
The man, no longer in the frame, apologized off-camera.
Guimarães, a Brazilian reporter for SportTV, is the third female journalist to be kissed, groped or assaulted as viewers across the globe watch coverage from the World Cup. The incident adds to the uncomfortable narrative that under the surface of jubilant celebration of the sport bringing fans together from around the globe, there’s a streak of rampant harassment toward women.
“It’s difficult to find the words … Luckily, I’ve never experienced this in Brazil! Here it has happened twice. Sad! Shameful!,” Guimarães Tweeted after the experience.
Colombian reporter Julieth González Therán was also accosted on the opening day of the World Cup while broadcasting for Deutsche Welle. About 12 seconds into a report a Russian man in a backwards baseball cap ran up to González Therán, shouted something unintelligible, grabbed her breast and kissed her on the cheek.
She powered through, seemingly unfazed for nearly another 4 minutes when the female anchor on the other end of the live shot acknowledged Theran’s “nerves of steel.”
González Therán posted a video of the assault on Instagram writing, “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.”
On Friday the assailant, who said his name is Ruslan, expressed remorse over his actions from Deutsche Welle’s studios in Moscow. “I offer you most profound apologies,” he told González Therán.
“I acted coarsely and did not think that I will cause you confusion and shock. …I know your job is very hard, and I hope that you will never face another such incident in your career. I’m really sorry,” he said.
Ruslan’s apology came a day after a third reporter — Swedish correspondent Malin Wahlberg — was manhandled by three different Swedish fans on a march ahead of the game against South Korea last Monday.
The videos have sparked outrage among both male and female journalists as well as sports fans across the globe especially in the wake of #MeToo and the Brazilian #deixaelatrabalhar or “let her work” campaigns.
But even as these movement have gained momentum in the U.S. and other western countries, Russia’s pro-Kremlin media has criticized Hollywood’s handling of sexual assault allegations. As Newsweek reported, state-run Rossiya-1 channel ridiculed the “outpouring of sympathy towards victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood, arguing the West is too hasty in dealing with the accused.”