Lebanese topless skier gets bottomless support
A government minister sparked controversy by announcing investigation in Olympic skier’s nearly-nude pictures
The controversy of nude footage being released of Lebanese Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun has resulted in Arabs flocking taking to social networks to show their solidarity after earlier comments calling for an investigation.
On Tuesday, the caretaker Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami asked the head of Lebanon’s Olympic committee to file the “necessary inquiries” into the incident to ensure “the protection of Lebanon’s reputation,” according to the country’s National News Agency.
Under the social networking site Twitter hashtags #stripforjackie and #boobsnotbombs, internet users posted semi-nude pictures holding up signs supporting the athlete, some seeing the controversy surrounding her actions as paling in comparison to the ongoing violence, bombings and assassinations plaguing the country.
“I can *completely* disagree with someone's ideology, worldview, and actions, but still support their freedom,” said Twitter user Iyad el-Baghdadi.
“The women gets to the Olympics no one mentions it.... She takes a professional photo-shoot, no one shuts about it,” wrote another user, Andrea whaibe.
Another Twitter user, sanleb wrote: “Is showing boobs worse than supporting armed groups who kill indiscriminately? Get your priorities right.”
A Facebook campaign entitled “I am not naked,” which has gathered over 13,000 “likes” since it began on Wednesday.
The campaign “is about recognizing the true definition of a person,” according to the Facebook page.
“Some women are beaten or killed, others are raped, and the media shifts their attention to a confident talented beautiful woman who represents her country at the Olympic games,” the campaign’s description reads.
“The campaign shows that Lebanese young people have had enough of all this hypocrisy that we’ve been witnessing in the Lebanese society lately,” said Joumana Haddad, a Lebanese journalist and women’s rights activist.
Although positive about the support for Chamoun, Haddad said that the news last week of Lebanese woman Manal al-Assi, who was allegedly bludgeoned to death by her husband in Lebanon, did not gather nearly as much as attention in contrast.
“[The popular hashtag] Stripforjackie is good, but why don’t we shoutformanal, or the likes of Manal as well?” Haddad told Al Arabiya News.
Due to Chamoun’s actions offending some conservative Lebanese, the skier may have problems returning from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where she is currently competing.
On Tuesday, Lebanon-based culture website 2Famous.TV quoted an anonymous “Norwegian official” who said that he had extended political asylum to Chamoun “if she manages to make it to Norway.”
The source could not immediately be verified.
The skier is only one of two athletes representing Lebanon at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, intensifying the backlash she is receiving back home for her near-nude photo spread.
After local media made public her past conduct, the athlete addressed her country and apologized.
“I just want to make it clear to everyone who commented, shared the photos that appeared on the net in Lebanon yesterday. Yes, I did photos for an Austrian ski calendar with other professional athletes,” she wrote in a public message on her official Facebook page.