02 Junio 2017 15:43
He's making light of it. To us, it’s a sexist disgraceImage: Avantage Leconte
The studio commentators were laughing, but there was nothing to laugh about. French tennis player Maxime Hamou, after being knocked out of the French Open in the first round by Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, put his arm around reporter Maly Thomas’ shoulder, while she was interviewing him live for Eurosport last Monday.
At first, the reporter kept her cool, until the incident turned into a full-blown harassment: Hamou began to kiss her neck and put his left arm around her, despite Thomas’ blatant attempts to get away.
To top it all, the commentators in the studio started laughing, either because they actually found it funny, or out of nerves or because they didn’t know how to react.
Hamou was thrown out of the tournament. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) decided to revoke his accreditation, ban him from the venue and open an investigation into his ‘reprehensible behaviour’.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Hamou offered Thomas his ‘deep apologies’.
‘I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros... and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm awkwardly towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely. I’m still learning every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person,’ posted the number 287 in the ATP ranking.
The TV reporter, however, is not having any of it. ‘If I hadn’t been live, I’d have punched him,’ Thomas told the Huffington Post France.
Hamou’s trainer, Martin Vaisse, played the incident down saying ‘at 21 you do a lot of clumsy things,’ although he acknowledged that ‘it’s a big point I need to work on with him’.
As far as we can tell, this is not so much a question of age, as a simple question of being sexist.