Reporters at Russia World Cup take to social media to share harassment stories

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With Russia saying it is hosting over one million visitors from around the world, all of whom headed to the country to watch the World Cup, its streets were visibly filled with excited football fans.

Throughout the tournament, people have experienced many ups and downs, with several teams leaving bearing huge losses, and others excitedly moving on to the next rounds.

However, this excitement has turned sour for a few, more specifically, reporters who were tasked to cover the huge event. Many have come out on social media to complain about sexual harassment incidents that they were subjected to, especially while they were recording live.

A Mexican male fan kissed a Spanish reporter during a live broadcast in Moscow before the Spain and Russia game on Sunday.

The camera captured the moment the man attacked Maria Gomes, where Gomes is seen quickly dodging him. However, the man had escaped after the act.

Gomes, who has 400,000 followers on Twitter, shared the clip on her official account saying: “I wanted to leave this issue behind a bit but I have decided to publish the video so that those who say that we exaggerate and that [these are] just jokes explain to me where the joke is here, please.”

She added: “I cannot see the humor and it still does not seem normal to me.”

Gomes is just one of many reporters who faced this threat while on the job in Russia.

More harassment incidents

Another Brazilian sports journalist was praised for her reaction towards a man who tried to kiss her when reporting live during the World Cup.

Júlia Guimarães, who works for Lisbon channel’s TV Globo, was reporting live from Yekaterinburg on Sunday when a man tried to harass her.

Guimarães shouted at the man and said: “Don't do this! Never do this again. I don’t allow you to do this, never, OK? This is not polite, this is not right.”

On her Twitter account, Guimarães said: “It's hard to find the words ... Luckily, I have never experienced this in Brazil. Over here, it has happened twice. Sad! Shameful!”

In an interview, Guimarães said she was also harassed during the opening game of the World Cup between Russia and Egypt in Moscow.

These incidents were ones that were caught on camera and shared by the reporters. No reports were shared about harassment incidents that were ‘off the record’.

A week earlier, a Colombian reporter Julieth G. Therán was also sexually assaulted.

Therán was talking on camera when a man grabbed her inappropriately and kissed her cheek.

She maintained her composure and finished her report before also sharing her story on social media.

In another interview, Therán said: “I had been at the scene for two hours to prepare for the broadcast and there had been no interruptions. When we went live, this fan took advantage of the situation. But afterward, when I checked to see if he was still there, he was gone.”

On her Instagram account, Therán called for more respect for female journalists.

She wrote: “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.”

Last March, the hashtag ‘let her work’ became trending on social media after a similar incident happened to another Brazilian reporter. The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the harassment that female reporters face on the field.

Not only women

A male Egyptian broadcaster, reporting on the Egyptian channel Al Masreya, got kissed by a Russian female fan and the video went viral on social media. The reporter looked visibly uncomfortable, while the crowd behind him cheered her on.

The woman was waving at the camera saying “from Russia,” before another supporter, recorded on camera, told her to kiss him.

Another male broadcaster for Hannibal TV based in Tunisia, was also reporting live from Russia when a female fan kissed him on the cheek as well.