Spanish journalist sexually assaulted while reporting live: “It’s embarrassing and unacceptable”

Elizabeth López is the latest female reporter to be harassed while doing her job

Spanish journalist Elizabeth López.
Spanish journalist Elizabeth López.
Héctor Llanos Martínez

Female journalists may now have a greater presence on television news but they continue to be the target of sexual assault. Spanish journalist Elizabeth López from Spanish channel laSexta is the latest victim to be harassed while doing her job. In a message on Twitter, the reporter recounted how she was kissed on the head by an unknown man while reporting live from Salou in Tarragona.

“It is an embarrassing and unacceptable situation. There is a huge lack of respect and a surplus of sexist attitudes #enoughalready,” she said in a post that was shared 7,200 times in less than 24 hours.

Today it happened to me. A guy decided to kiss me on the head while I was doing a live link. He and his friends thought it was funny. But I found the situation embarrassing and unacceptable. There is a huge lack of respect and surplus of sexist attitudes. #enoughalready

Unlike other sexist incidents that have happened this year, this one did not occur at a sporting event. “Neither my colleagues or I expected something like this to happen. In the moment, you are focused on doing your job and know how to react,” López told Verne, adding that it is disappointing that female television journalists “still have to put up with the cliché that women are just window dressing.”

The television program decided to bring up the issue in the second live link with López to “explain to the public what had happened and to denounce it,” she explained by phone. Although the municipal police went in search of the man, López has not yet received any confirmation that he has been found.

We are all concerned. This is our response minutes later to what happened.

To those who claimed the incident was just a simple joke without sexist overtones, the journalist argues “the moment a man thinks he can invade your personal space and kiss you without your permission, the situation is sexist.”

López explained that as a journalist she has gone through other tense moments, when for example people tried to take away her microphone at a protest in Barcelona, that she does not consider to be sexist.

From Spain to Brazil

María Gómez, a reporter for the Spanish TV network Mediaset who covered this year’s World Cup tournament in Russia, slammed the number sexist attacks against female journalists just days before being assaulted herself. While reporting live, a man ran up to her and kissed her cheek.

Moscow. Today. I wanted to put this issue to rest but I have decided to share this video so that those who say we are exaggerating or that these are just jokes can please explain what is funny about this. I don’t see the joke and it continues to seem not normal to me.

“It seems surreal that we should even have to ask for respect. I don’t know if it needs to be made any clearer, but enough of these attitudes, enough of these types of men. We are doing our jobs, we are not ornaments, we are not waiting for kisses that we do not ask for... We are not little dolls in the street. We are professionals and we simply ask for respect. We understand the euphoria, the excitement… But, please let’s end these types of situations that are so backward,” Gómez said after the incident in June.

Spanish journalists are far from the only reporters being harassed. Colombian reporter Julieth González Therán was also kissed by a man while reporting live from the World Cup for German network Deutsche Welle.

In Mexico, fans of the Guadalajara soccer club harassed Fox Sports reporter María Fernanda Mora during the team’s victory celebrations in the Concachampions Cub in April, 2018. In the video of the incident, Mora is seen reporting the news before suddenly turning around and hitting one of the fans with her microphone. She later explained that the men had touched her body without her permission.

Assault against María Fernanda Mora.

Let me tell you what happened so that you don’t go on saying stupid things. I was touched multiple times while my back was turned. Multiple! Thanks for your unwanted opinion.

Brazilian journalist Bruna Dealtry faced a similar situation when a man kissed her on the mouth during a live broadcast for the Brazil’s Esporte Interactivo sports channel. To protest what happened, she shared a video of the incident on Facebook with the title “I’m a soccer reporter, a woman and I deserve to be respected.” The video sparked a social media campaign in Brazil under the hashtag #deixaelatrabalhar (let her work).

'Sou repórter de futebol, sou mulher e mereço ser respeitada'

Sempre fui uma repórter que adora uma festa de torcida. Não me importo com banho de cerveja, torcedor pulando, pisando no meu pé... sempre me deixo levar pela emoção e tento sentir o momento para fazer o meu trabalho da melhor maneira possível. Sempre me orgulhei por ter uma boa relação com todas as torcidas e por ser tratada com muito respeito!! Mas hoje, senti na pele a sensação de impotência que muitas mulheres sentem em estádios, metrôs, ou até mesmo andando pelas ruas. Um beijo na boca, sem a minha permissão, enquanto eu exercia a minha profissão, que me deixou sem saber como agir e sem entender como alguém pode se sentir no direito de agir assim. Com certeza o rapaz não sabe o quanto eu ralei para estar ali. O quanto eu estudei e me esforcei para ter o prazer de poder contar histórias incríveis e estar em frente às câmeras mostrando tudo ao vivo. Faculdade, cursos, muitos finais de semana perdidos, muitos jogos de futebol analisados, estudo tático, técnico, pesquisas etc. Mas pelo simples fato de ser uma mulher no meio de uma torcida, nada disso teve valor para ele. Se achou no direito de fazer o que fez. Hoje, me sinto ainda mais triste pelo que aconteceu comigo e pelo que acontece diariamente com muitas mulheres, mas sigo em frente como fiz ao vivo. Com a certeza que de cabeça erguida vamos conquistar o respeito que merecemos e que o cidadão que quis aparecer é quem deve se envergonhar do que fez. Sou repórter de futebol, sou mulher e mereço ser respeitada.

Posted by Bruna Dealtry on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

“I’m a soccer reporter, a woman and I deserve to be respected.”

Days earlier, radio journalist Renata de Medeiro was told to “get out of here bitch” by a fan from Brazil’s multisport club Sports Club International. “I asked him to repeat what he said before the camera and he attacked me. I never thought I would have to go through something like this working,” she said in a message on Twitter.

“Get out of here bitch,” a fan from Sports Club International told me. I asked him to repeat what he said before the camera. He attacked me. I never thought I would have to go through something like this working.

French television reporter Marina Lorenzo was also harassed when Barcelona soccer club fans surrounded her during a live broadcast from the final of the Copa del Rey (The King’s Cup). Speaking in Spanish, the Canal+ reporter told the men “don’t touch me.”

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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