Your Source for Feminist Discourse

Tristan Thompson Kisses Sideline Reporter: Workplace Harrassment on TV?!

I’ve been working in the restaurant business since I was a teenager, and sadly this means that I’ve experienced sexual harassment by co-workers, customers and managers. It’s something that I’m getting better at dealing with, and I’m learning ways to handle it and protect myself. But what if one of the incidents that made me feel so worthless and degraded was broadcasted on national television? Well for Fox Sports Ohio’s sideline reporter Allie Clifton, that actually happened. And the world doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem at all.

Now, just to preface this story: to be a sideline reporter you usually have to have a degree in journalism, sports communication, media arts and design or something of the like. This girl worked her ass off to get where she is. Okay, so imagine you worked hard your whole life to finally get the chance to be a reporter for Fox. You obviously are going to take your job seriously, and when someone discounts your intelligence and occupation just to reduce you to an object to kiss….I’m sorry that’s just unacceptable.

Anyway Clifton is interviewing The Cavaliers’ forward Tristan Thompson, but his pregame interview was super weird and frankly, f*cked up in my opinion. She tried to ask him a serious question about his game strategy and he answers by saying “See ball get ball, you know how we do it Tina,” and then he creepily winks at the camera and kisses her on the head/ear/hair/face. Clifton handled herself as a professional in the situation, but that still doesn’t make his actions okay.

Here’s just a few reasons why:

  1. Tina is not her name….
  2. Giving a sh*tty answer followed by winking at the camera is making a joke out of her career.
  3. Kissing/touching anyone without consent is unacceptable. For this to happen on national television and reporters refer to it as “an unexpected gift,” or “harmless, and nothing more than an awkward one-sided exchange” is so unbelievable to me. No, this was harassment in the workplace and Clifton should not have to put up with that.

Kelly Dwyer at Yahoo Sports was the only one that got it right in his article on the incident:

“Don’t kiss someone without their consent, ever, and don’t kiss someone without their consent while they’re doing their job.”

“This isn’t cute or funny or meme-worthy. There should be no marginalizing or rationalizing of this. That could be a mortifying thing for this reporter, and Thompson couldn’t be more in the wrong. Just because you’re working with someone of the opposite sex, it doesn’t mean a sly innuendo, pat on the rear, or kiss on national television is in any way appropriate.”

Yes! Thank goodness someone out there gets it. Sexual harassment is not a gift, it’s not harmless and it damn sure isn’t one sided. When someone takes your personal agency away in a situation and treats you as a sexual object, it’s extremely degrading and leaves lasting emotional effects.

If you are struggling with harassment in the workplace go here for additional resources, no one deserves to suffer in silence!

2 Responses to “Tristan Thompson Kisses Sideline Reporter: Workplace Harrassment on TV?!”

  1. SpongebobBloggerpants

    Sexual harassment in the work place is a real thing. It’s not sensationalized during employee training periods for no reason. I think what is misunderstood about sexual harassment is the many different forms it takes: First of all, harassment can be perpetuated from a man directed to a woman OR from a woman to a man OR from a woman to a woman OR a man to a man…it’s not always men making inappropriate advances toward a woman.

    Also, it could be as seemingly inane as a verbal interaction to something as blatant as a kiss on the head (wtf?) as seen in this interview. I have worked in the restaurant industry as well and experienced every form on the broad spectrum of sexual harassment. Fellow employees touched me made sexual slurs toward me..the whole 9 yards. I would just laugh it off and go about my work day. In retrospect I understand how sad my situation was.

    Men and women need to be empowered to come forward about harassment. Some media responses to this unfortunate situation disempower subjects of harassment and encourage the behavior to be culturally acceptable when IT IS NOT. Dwyer has got it right. This really “isn’t cute or funny or meme-worthy and there should be no marginalizing or rationalizing of this.”

    Reply
    • ChelleBelle

      Yes!! I definitely agree that there needs to be more safe spaces to talk about harassment (especially in the work place…and in industries that dont have HR departments) because when no one talks about it, it seems like its just “something that happens that we have to get over.” Which is totally off base with reality. I also had a similar experience when I was younger and looking back, I really wish I would have taken steps to protect myself. I think you’re spot on in that if more people shared their stories, less people would be afraid to report harassment. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: