The French Open has banned Maxime Hamou from the remainder of the tournament as he attempted to kiss a female reporter multiple times on live television. The incident occurred after the 21-year-old was defeated in straight sets by Pablo Cuevas.
Eurosport journalist Maly Thomas was the victim of this major fiasco. As she interviewed the Frenchman, he tried to kiss her numerous times and was physically rejected by Thomas. Hamou kept attempting and Thomas kept rejecting. Thomas was put in an extremely awkward and uncomfortable position as she had to keep a cheerful image for all the viewers. The drama was also not helped by any of her co-presenters as Hamou’s actions were applauded by them.
(Editor’s note: The following video shows a man making a clearly unwanted advance on a female journalist. Viewers should be aware before they watch the video that it may be something they find inappropriate.)
The first kiss attempt does not seem to bother Maly Thomas that much. However, once Hamou goes for a second kiss she seems extremely uncomfortable and deeply upset by the lack of respect Hamou is showing to an established journalist. You can also see that Thomas pushes him away a little and it shows just how obnoxious Hamou is being by not sensing the obvious discomfort that Thomas is in. To Maly Thomas’ credit, she continues the interview in a professional manner, which highlights just how seriously she takes her job. At the very end of the interview, after he tries to kiss her a third time, she tries to forcefully escape from his grip while he is refusing to let go.
Thomas was angered by the events that occurred and understandably so. It is not right for anyone to unnecessarily attempt to kiss a woman, especially when they are at work and on live television. Thomas said, “If I had not been on live air, I would have punched him. It does not give a good picture of him, he destroys himself by doing this.”
Eurosport also released a statement regarding the Frenchman’s “inappropriate” (to use their word) behaviour. “We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening’s interview between Maly Thomas and Maxime Hamou. The behaviour of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way. Maly is a highly respected journalist and we are pleased that a full apology is being offered.”
Maxime Hamou has been banned from entering the grounds of the tournament as we now know. The French Tennis Federation spoke about the controversial events: “The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behaviour with a journalist yesterday.”
These are very strong sanctions for the world #287, but they seem right in such a case like this. Further sanctions may be imminent from not just the FFT, but the ATP. It is looking likely that Hamou will be receiving a hefty fine and potentially a ban from playing tour events. The Frenchman released an apology to Thomas on social media. He said, “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… and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm crudely towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely. I’m still learning every day from my mistakes to become and better tennis player and a better person.” I feel that Hamou is using his high emotions as an excuse for what he did. This is an unacceptable and insufficient apology and those “emotions” ruined his week in the blink of an eye.
I find the actions from Hamou disgraceful and I would like to see a ban imposed on him. I also do not think he should receive any Wild Cards into Roland Garros in the future, and that includes qualifying because he has put this tournament and himself in a bad light. These unfortunate off-court events have sadly drawn attention away from some of the breathtaking tennis on the court at Roland Garros. Maxime Hamou has most definitely tarnished his reputation as a result and we wait to see if more sanctions will come his way.
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