Maxime Hamou banned from French Open

Photo via Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Yesterday, French tennis player Maxime Hamou was banned from the French Open after assaulting Eurosport reporter Maly Thomas while on live television.

The video, shown above, contains rather disturbing footage of Hamou repeatedly attempting advances towards Thomas, even as she attempted to get away from him several times.

Hamou, ranked No. 247 in the world, put his arm around Thomas, who was visibly uncomfortable. He then went on to repeatedly try to kiss her, much to the amusement of several of her colleagues in the studio.

The French Tennis Federation “decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behavior”. They also alluded to further sanctions that they could place on Hamou. Thomas herself told the French Huffington Post that “If it had not been live on air, I would have punched him”.

Unfortunately, incidents like this are disturbingly commonplace in sports. Most harassment of female reporters goes unreported.

In 2016, Sports Illustrated ran an article that recorded the abuse of several female reporters who all agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity.

There’s an unfortunate amount of incidents in which female reporters were harassed by athletes asking for their numbers, or exposing themselves by dropping their pants in front of female reporters.

Eurosport published a statement about the incident lauding Thomas as a journalist and berating Hamou; “The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way. Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered.”

Hamou later expressed a desire to apologize to Thomas in person. However, his actions are just another chapter in a disturbing trend of harassment towards females in the sports industry.

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