French Open Takes Radical Step of Punishing a Famous Man Who Forced Himself on a Woman
Leave it to the French.
The French Open has revoked the credentials of Maxime Hamou after the 21-year-old French tennis player repeatedly kissed Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas and held her by the neck and shoulders during an interview on Monday. Thomas tried to duck Hamou’s advances, elbowing him in the chest and attempting 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.
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The incident also sparked outrage in some corners of social media. French politician Cécile Duflot weighed in on Twitter: “He kisses her by force, she tries to get away, he holds her by the neck and everyone… laughs #tired.”
Thomas told the Huffington Post France that Hamou’s actions were “frankly unpleasant.”
Hamou later apologized on his Facebook page, 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 prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Elkann, wielding a lit cigarette, planted a surprise kiss on host Uma Thurman at the event for the American Foundation for AIDS Research as the actress announced the Italian businessman as winner of two tickets to the Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
A representative for the actress later said that Thurman was not privy to the stunt and felt “very unhappy” about the kiss.