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Gigi Hadid is attacked at Fashion Week and immediately blamed for defending herself

Xposure_Gigi_Hadid_15-124.jpeg

Gigi Hadid has been attacked at Milan Fashion Week - and was then forced to defend herself against suggestions she was being aggressive for fighting the man off.

The 21-year-old model was grabbed from behind and hoisted in the air by a stranger as she made her way to her car after the Max Mara show. Angry and shaken, Hadid thrashed furiously at the man and eventually managed to free herself before he ran away laughing.

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid

The man is Ukrainian former TV presenter Vitalii Sediuk - a self-styled "Hollywood prankster" who targets celebrities with unwelcome stunts that typically verge on the physical or sexually menacing. He has previously punched Brad Pitt at a premiere, tried to look up America Ferrera's dress at Cannes and grabbed Kim Kardashian's legs, almost pushing her to the ground, at Paris Fashion Week in 2014.

Seemingly the fact Sediuk worked in TV exempts him from the usual ramifications for peering up women''s frocks. Being pervy's fine in the name of light entertainment, right? Physical attacks are just bantz if the punchbag's an A-lister, yes?

Aside from the free pass Sediuk is given in the name of humiliating famous people, what's perhaps most disturbing about the Hadid incident is the staggering display of minimising and victim-blaming thrown her way even before Sediuk's identity emerged. 

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid

The concern, sympathy and shock visible on the face of her 19-year-old sister Bella, who witnessed the attack, was sharply contrasted by one truly startling take in The Sun, suggesting Gigi was wrong to try and fend off her attacker.

Not model behaviour: Gigi Hadid aggressively lashes out and ELBOWS man in the FACE after he tries to pick her up 

- The Sun

It's as if having a stranger suddenly clamping their arms around your body and lifting you off your feet while you struggle to escape is perfectly reasonable and Gigi's response is what's shocking. The suggestion is that she was the aggressor, rather than the man who grabbed her in the street.

Other publications referred to the man who hauled the model into the air as an "over eager fan" and an "overzealous fan."

The implication is clear: Gigi's paid to look pretty, if people get a little excited in her presence, she should let them have their fun. 

Huffington Post' writer Rachel McGrath made a fantastic fix to The Sun headline on Twitter that prompted a thankful response from the model - and clarification that she was at work, minding her own business at the time, rather than overreacting to the attentions of a poor, harmless fan:

The Sun later amended its headline to begin "Fashion Victim..." before settling on "Don't mess with Gigi - Astonishing moment model Gigi Hadid ELBOWS prankster in the face when he pounces on her in the street and lifts her off the floor."

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid

Gigi initially tried to run after Sediuk but was held back. She asked a security guard to pursue him while she returned to work, appearing on the runway as cool as ever at Fendi:

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid at Fendi

Perhaps next time Sediuk - or any other man - thinks it's acceptable to use their physical advantage against a woman in the name of "banter," they and the tabloid media might do well to remember Hadid's own block caps message "I'M A HUMAN BEING."

Images: Rex Features, Xposure Photos

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