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While Reporting At The World Cup, Female Journalists Are Sexually Harassed


Female reporters covering the World Cup in Russia have been facing ridicule and sexual harassment. At least three different incidents have happened on camera.


JULIA GUIMARAES: Never do this again, OK?


GUIMARAES: Don't do this. I don't allow you to do that. This is not polite. This is not right.

KELLY: That is a Brazilian reporter for Sport TV saying, don't do this; this is not polite; this is not right, that after a man ran up and tried to kiss her as she was standing with her microphone about to deliver her report.

NPR's Alina Selyukh has been in Russia since the tournament began. She joins us now from the city of Kaliningrad. Hey there, Alina.


KELLY: Tell me a little bit more about that incident we just heard and the other two that I mentioned.

SELYUKH: So the reporter there is Julia Guimaraes, and she responded pretty directly to the man who came up to her. Another video that's been circulating on social media involves a Swedish correspondent who is repeatedly touched and grabbed by Swedish fans marching in a drunken crowd. And all three cases essentially involve random men coming up to television correspondents who are trying to report on what's going on and deciding that it's OK to grab, hug or kiss the journalist. And as you said, it all happens right on camera.

KELLY: And I know from my own recent reporting in Russia that the #MeToo movement has some traction there, but a lot of Russians are skeptical about it. So I wonder, what has been the response among Russians to these incidents?

SELYUKH: To be honest, here in Russia only one of the incidents has made the news as far as I've seen. And it's one that involves a Russian fan. The man went in to kiss Colombian reporter Julieth Gonzalez Theran during her live broadcast for a German network. And the man not only kissed the reporter, which he says was on a dare, but he also grabbed her breast. And that part he says was an accident. After Gonzalez Theran posted her outrage on social media, the man identified as Ruslan went into the network's Moscow office to apologize to her over Skype.


RUSLAN: Once again, I apologize. I know that your job is very hard, and I hope that you will never face another such incident in your career. I really sorry.

SELYUKH: Gonzalez Theran said his behavior was disrespectful but accepted his apology.


JULIETH GONZALEZ THERAN: I refuse to be a victim. I just want to continue with my job reporting football. I just want to close this chapter, and I wish you the best.

KELLY: That is quite an exchange to listen to. Alina, I have to ask 'cause you've been there covering the World Cup this whole time in Russia. Have you experienced anything like this?

SELYUKH: You know, not at all. So far on this trip through Russia - and I'm currently on my third city, and I have been in several pretty drunk crowds - beyond being very politely hit on, I haven't really experienced any kind of obnoxious behavior. But, you know, I'm not a sports reporter. And reading about the female sports correspondents, I realize that the macho culture really affects them a lot, especially if you add a camera into the mix.

KELLY: That is NPR's Alina Selyukh reporting on activities on and off the field as she covers the World Cup from Kaliningrad, Russia. Alina, thanks very much.

SELYUKH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.