A French tennis player has been banned from the French Open after a cringeworthy live TV interview in which he repeatedly tried to kiss a female reporter.
Maxime Hamou, 21, kissed journalist Maly Thomas on the head and neck while wrapping his arm around her shoulder, as she tried to sneak away.
Commentators in the studio of Eurosport programme Avantage Leconte clapped and laughed as the harassment unfolded.
Here’s the video, which caused quite a backlash:
Following the episode, Thomas told HuffPo France Hamou’s actions were “frankly unpleasant”. “If I hadn’t been live on air, I would’ve punched him,” she said.
The French Tennis Federation (FTT) said in a statement it decided to revoke Hamou’s accreditation at the French Open “following his reprehensible behavior with a journalist”.
Tennis player kicked out of French Open after kissing journalist. France’s Maxime Hamou behaved inappropriately, says tennis federation.
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) May 30, 2017
Hamou later apologised for the incident with a statement on Facebook:
“I offer my deep apologies to Maly Thomas if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview. I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros living my most beautiful emotions as a tennis player, and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm awkwardly towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely. I’m still learning every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.”