Latin America

Mexican TV host claims network told her to deny on-air harassment

Tania Reza and co-host were fired from Ciudad Juárez program after video went viral

Video: A clip of the alleged sexual harassment incident that aired last Saturday (in Spanish).Video: YouTube

A Mexican TV host who was fired along with her co-presenter on Monday over an alleged sexual harassment incident that occurred live on air has charged that she was pressured by the Televisa network to claim that the entire episode was a hoax.

Tania Reza posted on her Facebook page that Televisa, which broadcasts the local Ciudad Juárez show on which the incident occurred, forced both of them to post a video on YouTube claiming that the entire occurrence had been a joke.

She walked off the set when her co-host Enrique Tovar started touching her

“Unfortunately in these situations there is pressure on the part of ‘businesses and other obligations to say’ (or even record a video saying) that I am guilty,” Reza wrote on her Facebook page hours after she was fired.

On their entertainment and talk program A todo machina (ATM) Saturday, Reza walked off set when co-host Enrique Tovar started touching her.

“Just a little bit, little girl, just stay calm,” Tovar told her while trying to grab her breasts and lift her dress.

“That’s enough, Enrique, quit being an idiot,” she responded.

After the mood turned sour, Reza took off her microphone and walked off set. “I can’t work like this,” she said.

At one point, Enrique told the audience: “Sorry, I think my co-host is a little hormonal.”

To be truthful, we never thought it would go this far” TV host Tania Reza

According to Televisa, which investigated the sexual harassment claim, the presenters had wanted the video to go viral, which it did. But the network said that they should have informed their producer that they had planned on performing “an offensive act.”

The hosts were fired on Monday.

“Televisa strongly condemns this act and any type of harassment,” the network said in a statement. “In conjunction with [the ethics code], we inform you that both presenters have been separated from the company.”

“We urge Tania Reza that if what happened on the show differs from her original statement to human resources, to not have doubts in letting us know so we can support her in the process of filing a formal complaint. At Televisa we take any form of inappropriate behavior very seriously.”

Just before Reza made her charges, Televisa posted a video on YouTube in which both co-hosts explained that their joke had gone a little too far.

“To be truthful, we never thought it would go this far,” Reza explained.

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“In real life, we are best friends. The [Televisa] company has nothing to do with this,” said a laughing Tovar.

On Monday afternoon, Mexico’s National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred) began investigating Tovar.

Gender violence and sexual harassment cases have been on the rise in Mexico over the past few years. During the 1990s, a red alert was issued in Ciudad Juárez after numerous killings of women took place.

More gender violence cases have been reported in other parts of the country, especially Mexico state, where some 2,318 women have been killed over the past nine years, according to the National Citizens Observatory on Femicide.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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