Journalist group slams ‘rude’ men who kissed TV reporter on air at Hong Kong Rugby Sevens
i-Cable News reporter Diamond Kwok was kissed on both cheeks by two male spectators during coverage of international rugby tournament
The head of a Hong Kong journalists’ group has slammed the “rude” behaviour of two male spectators who kissed a female TV news reporter without consent during a live telecast of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament on Sunday.
This came in addition to comments from the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission, which said the duo’s behaviour towards i-Cable News reporter Diamond Kwok Hoi-yee may have constituted sexual harassment.
Chris Yeung Kin-hing, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, expressed regret on Wednesday over the “rudeness” the men showed towards Kwok.
“Such behaviour should not be encouraged. From the coverage, we can see the reporter was very much embarrassed. Her work was disturbed,” Yeung said.
The station should speak with the reporter about the case, he added, and Kwok’s wishes about how to handle the issue should be respected.
The station should also alert the event organiser about the incident, Yeung said.
In a statement on Thursday, the association said it strongly condemned the nuisance caused by the men and their rude behaviour, which might amount to sexual harassment.
Kwok was at a spectator stand at Hong Kong Stadium on Sunday, the last day of the three-day international sporting event, when two men next to her gave her a kiss on either cheek in front of the camera.
The reporter appeared embarrassed and raised both arms to separate herself from the men, without interrupting the coverage.
Kwok did not take immediate action at the site or file a complaint with the event organiser. She later told media that she felt what the men did was unacceptable, but there was not much she could do.
An i-Cable spokesman said on Wednesday that the station’s human resources department had discussed the incident with Kwok, who told the company she would not pursue the matter.
“The company attaches importance to the employees’ rights and interests. We ensure no employees will be subject to any form of discrimination or sexual harassment according to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance.”
The station said it would handle any complaint according to its existing equal opportunities policy should one be filed.
Equal Opportunities Commission chairman Alfred Chan Cheung-ming told the Post that the incident could constitute sexual harassment, and police could have a case if the reporter felt the same way and filed a complaint.
“Depending on the reporter’s assessment of the situation, if she was kissed against her will, it could well be a case of harassment, and she may report to police if she wishes. In other countries, if the person was kissed against his or her will, there could be consequences too,” he said.
“Objectively speaking, if a lady was kissed by two strangers, she would certainly feel surprised, and bystanders would likely feel [this was] problematic too.”
Asked if i-Cable News executive director Ronald Chiu Ying-chun had taken the issue too lightly, Chan said the matter “should be taken more seriously” and the station should “first ask the person affected how he or she feels”.
Chiu was earlier reported to have said the firm would not pursue the case and would “laugh it off”.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association also expressed regret over how the station handled the incident.