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:
- Tina is not her name….
- Giving a sh*tty answer followed by winking at the camera is making a joke out of her career.
- 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!