A South Korean male reporter forcibly kissed by two Russian female fans while broadcasting at the World Cup late last month has triggered a sexual harassment debate on Chinese social media.
Jeon Gwang-ryeol was reporting for South Korean TV channel MBN on June 28 when one Russian female fan suddenly appeared onscreen and kissed him on the cheek.
Another fan followed and gave him a second kiss.
Jeon can be seen laughing the interference off, which came days after a similar World Cup incident involving a Colombian female reporter and a Russian male fan, BBC noted.
The clip of Jeon’s broadcast has since gone viral in Chinese social media, where netizens argued whether or not the fans’ behavior was sexual harassment.
BuzzFeed News translated some comments:
“Why is this not sexual harassment?”
“This is sexual harassment, kthxbye.”
“This is also sexual harassment??? It’s not funny……………”
Meanwhile, some believe that Jeon’s laughter meant he “consented” for the kisses.
“Because the guy wanted it. Last time the female reporter rejected it.”
“Sexual harassment is behavior that happens when the other person doesn’t consent to it. But look at how happy he is afterwards.”
Others stressed that the fans never asked for consent before kissing him.
“How do you know if he consented before you went up and kissed him?”
“People are saying that if the person consented then it doesn’t count as sexual harassment, but did you see the female fans ask for his consent? And to all the people who say it depends on whether someone is good looking or not, did the reporter go and check out their appearance? Or have you already decided deep in your heart that you can just randomly go kiss male reporters and not female reporters.”
One challenged the double standard:
“When it’s a guy being kissed by a girl, everyone is happy for him. He himself is proud and happy too. But if it had been a female reporter being kissed by a man? Wouldn’t the story be the complete opposite?”
Another commented in sarcasm:
“I see that apparently it’s only sexual harassment when the person is ugly. When the person is good looking, it doesn’t count…”
While the incident sparked a tight discussion in China, it failed to draw much attention in Jeon’s home country.
Nonetheless, BBC quoted one Korean Twitter user as saying, “Regardless of your gender, you get sexually harassed. An MBN journalist went to Russia to cover the World Cup and he was sexually harassed by two women.”