Berlin: German public broadcaster ‘Deutsche Welle’ condemned Thursday the sexual harassment of one of its correspondents, Colombian journalist Julieth Gonzalez Theran who was groped and kissed while reporting live on the World Cup.
Theran was reporting from the Russian city of Saransk when a man appeared suddenly, one hand grabbing her arm and the other her breast while kissing her on the cheek.
“The zero tolerance rule applies here, such assaults are not acceptable,” said the broadcaster’s chief editor Ines Pohl in a statement. “We must all strive for female reporters to be able to do their jobs at major sporting events. And that begins with calling these things by their names – this is not a trivial offence, but a sexual assault.”
Theran carried on with her reporting during the live broadcast, and said the man had disappeared by the time she turned around after the camera stopped filming.
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
Julieth Gonzalez Theran
“Lots of people think that the reporter is only there to bring some colour to the picture. But we want to talk about systems and strategy,” said the sports journalist.
Expressing her gratitude for the messages of support she received, Theran, who works for the broadcaster’s Spanish channel, voiced determination to continue doing her job.
“The assault is the topic today (Thursday), but tomorrow (Friday) I would like to speak about football again,” she asserted.
The assault against Theran came at a time when the online ‘#MeToo’ movement against sexual misconduct has made waves around the world, prompting victims to come forward to report harassment, including by leading figures in industry and the arts.