Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Tennis pro banned from French Open after groping reporter live on TV

french open groping ban.jpg

Tennis player Maxime Hamou has been banned from the 2017 French Open after grabbing a female reporter and attempting to forcibly kiss her during a live interview.

The 21-year-old player had been approached by Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas to talk about his first-round loss to Pablo Cuevas. But, as their discussion was aired on television show Avantage Leconte, Hamou wrapped his arm tightly around the shoulders of a visibly distressed Thomas.

Holding tightly onto her, and ignoring her struggle to get away, Hamou kissed the journalist – a move which, shockingly, prompted laughter and applause from commentators in the studio.


Read more: BBC presenter under fire after accidentally grabbing woman’s breast live on air


Viewers watching the broadcast soon took to Twitter to criticise Hamou’s behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas, speaking to Huffington Post France, described the experience as “unpleasant”, and insisted that things would have been very different if Hamou had not grabbed her during a live broadcast.

“If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him,” she said.

Responding to the shocking footage, the French Tennis Federation has condemned Hamou’s “reprehensible behaviour” and revoked his accreditation as a result.

This means that he will be banned from participating in any further matches for the duration of the French Open – and they have added that he could face further sanctions upon a review of the incident by the Fédération Tunisienne de Tennis.


Read more: This woman’s frighteningly relatable story has gone viral on Twitter


Hamou has since released an official statement of regret on his Facebook page.

Writing in his native French, he said: “I offer my deep apologies to Maly Thomas if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview.

“I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros, living my most beautiful emotions as a tennis player, and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm crudely towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely.”

Hamou finished by saying: “I am available to her to present my apologies in person if she would like. I'm still learning every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.”

His comments have been well received by Eurosport, and the channel has since offered an apology of its own to “any viewers who may have been affected” by the broadcast.

“We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening's interview,” it said in a statement.

“The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way.”


Read more: Why women are #Shoutingback about sexual harassment


It is worth pointing out, however, that many people remain furious over Hamou’s behaviour, and have criticised him for not straightforwardly apologising.

“French Open player Maxime Hamou gives non apology for sexually harassing journalist Maly Thomas,” tweeted one, quoting the tennis player’s use of the words ‘if she feels hurt’.

Another added scathingly: “I loathe fauxpologies.”

We feel as if we have said this time and time again, but we will keep on banging this drum until we finally get the message across: women, no matter what their profession or life circumstances, should never expect to be sexually harassed – and the world needs to stop normalising misogynist behaviour like Hamou’s.

As one Twitter user pointed out: “Eurosport presenters, who laughed and clapped while he grabbed her forcefully, are an example of why sexual harassment is socially pervasive.

“No one seems concerned about Maly Thomas; no one asks if she's okay. They just cut away as she twists out of the headlock Hamou has her in…. don’t normalise this.”

Images: YouTube

Related

bbc grope.jpg

BBC reporter under fire after accidentally grabbing woman’s breast

Nathalie Gordon.jpg

This woman’s frighteningly relatable story has gone viral on Twitter

Ched Evans.jpg

Ched Evans wants you to drink less to avoid being raped

Comments

More

Pirelli’s all-black 2018 calendar makes a statement about inclusivity

The tyre manufacturer aims to continue shaking off its reputation with a beautiful fairy-tale shoot

by Amy Swales
21 Jul 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Nicole Scherzinger's glam squad to Reese Witherspoon's hair hack

by Nicola Colyer
21 Jul 2017

Lana Del Rey is changing her aesthetic because of Donald Trump

"I’m not going to have the American flag waving while I’m singing Born to Die."

by Moya Crockett
20 Jul 2017

BBC ever so politely shuts down backlash over first female Doctor Who

Some “unhappy” viewers contacted the broadcaster about Jodie Whittaker’s casting

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

“I have my demons”: Neelam Gill on racism, modelling and mental health

Stylist’s cover star is outspoken, honest and on the up

by Anita Bhagwandas
19 Jul 2017

Actresses who have braved playing iconic women from history

As Felicity Jones signs up to play Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we take a look at other movie stars who have played real-life legends

by Moya Crockett
19 Jul 2017

Madonna launches legal battle to get her Tupac breakup letter back

The emotional letter was set to go up for auction – but Madonna says it was taken without her consent

by Moya Crockett
19 Jul 2017

Kate Middleton’s honest response to being called “perfect”

The Duchess of Cambridge isn’t here for the myth of perfection

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jul 2017

Christine Bleakley is over people asking when she’s going to have kids

“Everyone seems to be fascinated by my body clock…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Jul 2017

Woman cancels her wedding and invites homeless people to the party

“It’s a great opportunity to spread love.”

by Moya Crockett
17 Jul 2017