Find Us

Sexism and misogyny called out at first World Cup since #MeToo

Sexism and misogyny called out at first World Cup since #MeToo
Copyright REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Copyright REUTERS/Jorge Silva
By Emma BeswickStephanie Burnett
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

Sexism and misogyny called out at first World Cup since #MeToo


Sexism and misogyny have not been a topic at previous World Cups — but this year is different.

The World Cup 2018 was the first major football tournament since the #MeToo movement took off, and reports of harassment forced various countries' foreign ministries to admonish their fans and apologise over harassment.

From a Deutsche Welle reporter being harassed mid-broadcast, to Brazilian and Colombian fans telling women to chant derogatory and crude words, inappropriate behaviour was called out both by authorities and on social media.

Here are some of the examples that have surfaced at the World Cup in Russia so far.

Burger King backs down

A Burger King promotion offering 3 million Russian roubles (€40,620) and a lifetime supply of Whoppers to any women who got pregnant by a footballer playing in the World Cup appeared on the chain's VK account Tuesday.

The company later apologised for the campaign on the Russian social media platform, saying it "it came out too harsh" and it had "removed all previous materials relating to the competition".


Colombian DW reporter groped and kissed

A Colombian reporter for Deutsche Welle’s Spanish-language service Julieth Gonzalez Theran was kissed and groped by a fan during a live broadcast in Manezhnaya Square, Moscow.

The incident, which occurred just before the World Cup began on June 14, saw the journalist battle through her report despite the fan grabbing her and kissing her on the cheek.

Both Theran and Deutsche Welle condemned the incident. The latter posted the video on Instagram saying this was “not a kiss, it is a non-consensual attack.”

Theran wrote on Instagram: "I reject this type of misogynistic behaviour in soccer and in other scenarios. I belong to that daily struggle of women who earn a space in a land full of male mistrust. This is not overlooked either. #metoo".

The man later reached out to Deutsche Welle after the video went viral to apologise to Theran, saying he "acted carelessly" and that the"unsuccessful joke" happened after his friend bet him he couldn't kiss a reporter on air.

The Russian fan, Ruslan, said: "I offer you my most profound apologies and did not think that I would cause you confusion and shock."

Theran told him that the misconduct was "disrespectful" but said she accepted his apology and he did the right thing coming forward.

Brazilian reporter dodges kiss

A Brazilian journalist for Globo TV was broadcasting at the World Cup in Yekaterinburg when a man approached her and tried to kiss her. But Julia Guimaraes called him out. 

"Don't do this! Never do this again," said Guimaraes.


The man is heard apologising as he walks away. 

"Don't do this, I don't allow you to do this, never, OK? This is not polite, this is not right," she said. "Never do this to a woman, OK? Respect."

Colombia denounces 'intolerable' fan behaviour

A video showing a Colombian football fan in Russia telling two Japanese women to recite offensive comments in Spanish was condemned by the country's Foreign Ministry.

After the footage, in which the women were encouraged to say phrases that insult their appearance, authorities put out a warning to all citizens visiting Russia for the World Cup.


"Fan behaviour that repeats rude messages in Spanish, like with the two Japanese women, not only degrades women, (but also) insults other cultures, our mother-tongue and our country.

"It's intolerable to mistreat a woman by taking advantage of the language barriers," it wrote on Twitter.

Brazil's tourism ministry admonishes fans

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism also condemned a similar incident involving the harassment of Russian women by Brazilian visitors.

After video surfaced on social media showing men approaching Russian women and tricking them into saying "rosa buceta" in Portuguese, or "pink pussy", the country's ministry for tourism reprimanded them in an official statement.


"Sexism and misogyny are not acceptable under any circumstances, much less in an event like the World Cup," it said.

Russian women told not to 'welcome foreign fans'

A Russian MP last week encouraged Russians to have sex with visiting foreign football fans.

“The more love stories we have connected to the World Cup, the more people from different countries fall in love, the more children are born, the better,” said Mikhail Degtyaryov, according to Tass.

The comments came just a day after fellow MP, and head of the Russian parliament’s committee for families, women and children, Tamara Pletnyova told women not to have sex with guests ahead of the World Cup.


Responding to a question about a reported spike in births of mixed-race children in Russia after the 1980 Summer Olympics, Pletnyova told Govorit Moskva radio station: “We must give birth to our own children. These (mixed-race) kids suffer and have suffered since Soviet times.”

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Had enough of toxic masculinity on TikTok? Be more like Noel Deyzel

Brazilian regulator bans Meta from using data for AI training

WATCH: Brazil faces backlash over proposed abortion law