By Claire Zillman
June 1, 2017

Leave it to the French.

The French Open revoked the credentials of Maxime Hamou after the 21-year-old French tennis player repeatedly kissed Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas and held her neck during an interview on Monday. Thomas elbowed Hamou in the chest and attempted to loosen his grip as she spoke with him following his ouster from the Grand Slam tournament.

Thomas’s colleagues in the Eurosport studio clapped and laughed as the incident unfolded on live television.

The French Tennis Federation (FTT) condemned Hamou’s behavior as “reprehensible” and ordered an investigation.

Thomas told the Huffington Post France that Hamou’s actions were “frankly unpleasant.”

Hamou later apologized, offering his “deep apologies to Maly Thomas if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview.”

“I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros … and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm crudely towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely,” he said. (It should be noted that Hamou’s tournament experience was abbreviated since he lost in the first round.)

Kissing the nearest woman—whether she agrees to the gesture or not—is still too often a means of male celebration.

It’s how former Fiat CEO Lapo Elkann commemorated winning an auction at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Elkann planted a surprise kiss on host Uma Thurman as the actress announced him as a winning bidder.

A representative for the actress later said that Thurman was not privy to the stunt and felt “very unhappy” about the kiss.

“It is opportunism at its worst,” Thurman’s rep told People. “She wasn’t complicit in it.”

It’s also how actor Adrien Brody marked his win at the 2003 Academy Awards, dipping presenter Halle Berry into a surprise, full-on kiss.

“I bet they didn’t tell you that was in the gift bag,” he told Berry before an audience of millions as the actress, with a slight scowl, wiped her face.

After the Elkann incident last year, Slate noted that the surprise stranger kiss came to be seen as romantic—and perhaps the ultimate expression of male exuberance—from the iconic “V-J Day in Times Square” photo of a World War II sailor smooching a nurse. But lost in the lore of that captured moment is that it was nonconsensual. In 2005, the nurse, Greta Friedman, explained that “the guy just came over and grabbed [me].”

What’s unique about Monday’s episode is that Hamous actually faced consequences for imposing his will on an unsuspecting woman who was simply doing her job. In past cases or reports of similar behavior, men have been regarded as spontaneous, waved off as jokesters, or elected president of the United States.

While the French Open took immediate action against Hamou, it wasn’t quite the response Thomas had in mind.

“If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him,” she said.

@clairezillman


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Trolling with a tune
Ahead of next week’s general election in the U.K., a scathing song called “Liar, Liar” that lampoons PM Theresa May has climbed to the top of Britain’s iTunes chart. The song that targets May for her perceived political flip-flopping was released on Friday, and reached No. 2 by Monday. A video of it has been viewed more than 597,000 times on YouTube. The song has likely not registered on May’s radar as she confronts slimmer chances of a Tory landslide next week.
New York Times
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Missing from media
In 2015, a female-run radio station was looted and wrecked when the Taliban captured Afghanistan’s embattled northern city of Kunduz. Even after the Taliban were routed, female journalists have been on guard, if they returned to work at all. A vibrant media is one of the great successes of post-2001 Afghanistan, but women’s place in the industry is fragile. For many Afghan families, when security worsens, protection of women overrides any efforts toward their empowerment.
Guardian

THE AMERICAS

Next to Rex
Bloomberg has a profile of Margaret Peterlin, the chief of staff to Rex Tillerson, who gained the trust of the secretary of state after navigating him through his confirmation process. Peterlin is a Navy veteran and a former Mars Inc. lawyer, who as a congressional aide helped draft the Patriot Act after the Sept. 11 attacks. With most top State Department jobs still unfilled, Peterlin has more power than anyone who’s held her position in recent memory.
Bloomberg
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A pill proposal
Vox obtained leaked drafts of regulation that shows the Trump administration could dramatically overhaul the Obamacare mandate that gave many American women access to free birth control. The current health care law requires nearly all employers to offer health insurance that covers access to a wide array of contraceptive methods. The draft proposal, if finalized, would significantly expand the type of companies and organizations that can request an exemption to that rule, meaning some American women who currently receive no-cost birth control may have to start paying for it out-of-pocket.
Vox
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What’s trending?
Longtime Morgan Stanley analyst and Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker unveiled her annual Internet Trends report, a widely read data-filled compendium of where the technology and media industries are headed. Among her top findings: smartphone growth is slowing and online advertising is growing due to mobile use.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

A story with legs
Actress Priyanka Chopra wore a dress that showed her legs as she met Indian PM Narendra Modi. Some social media users in India have criticized the decision, saying her wardrobe choice “disrespected” the leader. Chopra responded unapologetically, posting a photo of both her mother and her wearing short dresses, captioned “legs for the day.”
BBC
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War of words
A feud has broken out between—of all people—Chelsea Clinton and Rodrigo Duterte after the former first daughter tweeted that the Philippines president was a “murderous thug with no regard for human rights” in apparent response to a rape joke Duterte made in a speech to soldiers. Duterte said he was being sarcastic in his speech and asked Clinton if she had “slam[med]” her father when the former U.S. president “was screwing Lewinsky.”
Reuters
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Welcome home
Chung Yoo-ra, whose lavish lifestyle fueled questions about the nature of her mother’s relationship with former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, returned home from Europe yesterday to face questioning about the influence-peddling scandal that’s engulfed her mother and Park. As she arrived in South Korea, Chung sought to dodge any responsibility in the matter: “I think I was wrongly accused. I don’t know what happened between my mother and former President Park Geun-hye.”
Korea Herald

IN BRIEF

Google doodle honors visionary architect Zaha Hadid
Time
Melania Trump slams comedian Kathy Griffin: ‘A photo opportunity like this is simply wrong’
Fortune
A model claims automaker Hyundai fired her for having her period
BBC
Trump’s social secretary strives to stay above the White House fray
Washington Post

PARTING WORDS

"While I’m there, I’m going in for the win."
- —Erika Shields, the new police chief of Atlanta, Georgia, who was appointed in December.

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