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SPORTS | 23-06-2018 10:33

Latin American fans at World Cup criticised for violence

This was for posting videos in which men encourage foreign women to say offensive things in languages they don’t appear to understand.

Some Latin American fans at the World Cup are receiving strong criticism for sexist behaviour and could even face workplace consequences for posting videos in which they encourage foreign women to say offensive things in languages they don’t appear to understand.

In one of a handful of videos, a group of Brazilian men surround a woman and encourage her to chant with them in Portuguese an offensive word for female anatomy. In another, Colombian fans encourage a woman to repeat offensive things about herself in Spanish. In yet another, fans from Mexico hold a woman up in the air and urge her to use a slang word for a female body part in Spanish.

As the videos were shared widely on social media and published by media outlets, some of the Brazilian men were identified, and their employers expressed dismay, promising consequences in some cases.

While sexist and offensive behavior was long considered almost inevitable at large sporting events, changing mores and especially increasing awareness of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the #metoo movement has reduced tolerance for it. For instance, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Mexico after its fans used an anti-gay slur during the team’s World Cup win over Germany.

Condemnation of the videos came from many quarters, with some lamenting that they had been published at all and others noting that the strong reaction showed that at least this sort of behaviour is losing ground.

Colombia’s Foreign Ministry tweeted Tuesday that such behaviour “not only degrades the woman, but insults other cultures, our language and our country.”

Several in Brazil expressed embarrassment that the behavior of some was tarnishing the country’s image, but also acknowledged the actions reflect a worrying strain in Brazilian culture. Leandro Cruz, Brazil’s minister of sports, told journalists in Moscow on Wednesday that the men were “doing an immense disservice to Brazil.”

Brazil’s National Council of Women’s Rights said in a statement that the behaviour “is evidence of the reality of physical, verbal, psychological and moral aggression that many women often face in Brazil and in the world.”

LATAM Airlines Brazil a;sp confirmed one of its staff members was in a video and said it had taken “appropriate measures, in line with its code of ethics and behaviour.” It would not say what those measures were.

In another shocking incident, FIFA said yesterday it is helping Russian authorities identify people filmed attacking a fan in the stadium during Croatia’s 3-0 win over Argentina at Nizhny Novgorod.

Footage posted on Twitter showed Argentina fans kicking and punching a man wearing a Croatia shirt on Thursday evening. One kicked the head of the Croatia supporter who was lying on a concrete walkway leading from the grandstand.

The Interfax news agency cites Russian World Cup organisers as saying seven Argentina fans were charged with minor offences.

They could have their Fan ID cards cancelled. The credential acts as a visa for visitors to Russia and is needed to get into a stadium.

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