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Sexual harassment and assault

Hong Kong Sevens kisses fail to score with all fans

Unwelcome embrace of i-Cable reporter by revellers stresses need to respect fellow spectators and to ensure others are allowed to enjoy the annual party

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 4:25am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 4:25am

A kiss is just a kiss, according to the lyrics of a famous song. But when the embrace is not welcome, it can amount to indecent assault. This issue has been the subject of much debate following the non-consensual kissing of i-Cable news reporter Diamond Kwok Hoi-yee by two men during a live broadcast at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament.

Kwok was kissed on either cheek by the two spectators at the same time. She looked embarrassed, raised her arms to separate herself from the men, and later said she found their conduct unacceptable. She is right. It should not have happened.

Opinion: Time to kiss goodbye to ‘kiss cam’ after reporter’s on-air ordeal at Sevens

Much of the success of the Sevens is due to the freewheeling atmosphere enjoyed by fans in Hong Kong Stadium during the event.

It is an opportunity to let your hair down, dress in a silly costume, have a drink or two (or maybe more), sing, dance, cheer, boo, and generally have fun.

Anyone who attends should be prepared for such revelry. That is the spirit of the Sevens.

But it does not mean that anything goes. There is a need to respect fellow spectators and to ensure that one person’s fun does not spoil the party for others.

There is clearly a line to be drawn when it comes to kissing strangers without their consent. The embracing of Kwok crossed that line.

She was working and should have been free to do her job without harassment. No one should think they can behave in such a way just because they are at the Sevens.

With that in mind, the organisers of the event should consider whether, in future, they continue using the “kiss cam”.

This involves a camera homing in on an unsuspecting couple in the crowd, who are then expected to kiss. The embrace is broadcast live on the stadium’s big screens, much to the enjoyment of the 40,000 fans.

The camera usually finds couples who are partners and who gleefully oblige with an enthusiastic kiss. All part of the fun. But that cannot be guaranteed.

Sexual harassment ‘affects more than one in 10 Hong Kong service workers’

Sometimes the spotlight is shone on someone who feels obliged to kiss the person sitting next to them, regardless of whether they want to be kissed. The kiss cam creates an environment in which embracing strangers is encouraged. As the Kwok incident shows, that is not the right message to send. The Sevens should be fun, but kisses should be saved for those who want to be kissed.