Belgian journalist and former professional cyclist Sven Spoormakers has set off a social media firestorm after he made suggestive comments about a female TV reporter’s clothing.
Spoormakers made reference to the reporter’s low cut top after taking a screenshot of her interviewing one of the riders during the Vuelta a San Juan road race in Argentina. Spoormakers tagged the image in Dutch with, “Is it cool in Argentina?”
Australian cycling journalist Sophie Smith was first to call-out Spoormakers for the comment.
Smith tweeted: “Seriously? Please tell me this is lost in translation and you did not just publicly objectify a young female reporter.
“Speaking from experience, let me say she does the exact same job as you but has to work and withstand twice as much still because of bullshit like this.”
Spoormakers then responded: “Objectify, really? Come on. Don’t draw the feminist card on this one. She knows exactly what she’s wearing – or not wearing – and why.
“If I would interview a female athlete with my balls out, you’d be joking about it too. Or calling it a disgrace.”
However, Smith was having none of it and responded with: “So it’s her fault because you can’t stop looking at her boobs?
“What’s she meant to do, wear a potato sack so you don’t get excited?
“If I take a picture of you at work, post it and comment on how small your dick looks in a pair of shorts would you be all right with that?”
British journalist Ned Boulting then weighed in, quoting one of Smith’s tweets and writing: “Over and over and over again, my female colleagues have to defend themselves from institutional disrespect. I take your voice, Sophie, and I add mine.”
And it appears Spoormakers wasn’t finding too many online supporters.
“Mate, she’s wearing a top. That’s it. What’s the problem? Jesus Christ you’re a dinosaur” tweeted one.
“She isn’t exposed in any way Sven. You commented inappropriately as if her body is available for you to simply discuss. That’s objectifying her. Not cool,” said another.
While another penned: “We are more than the clothes we wear. If you can’t understand why your comment is inappropriate I suggest getting some training around sexism.”
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