Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) says the actions of two male spectators who kissed a sports reporter without her consent during the rugby sevens may constitute sexual harassment.

An i-Cable reporter was kissed by two men while she was conducting a live broadcast at the Rugby Sevens finals on Sunday. In a clip uploaded to Facebook, two men standing behind anchor Diamond Kwok glance at each other before leaning down to kiss Kwok on the cheeks for about two seconds. She grimaces and raises both arms as if to push them away.

Speaking to HK01 on Monday, Kwok said: “I feel it was unacceptable, but I also don’t feel there is much I can do.”

Photo: Screenshot/i-Cable.

She added that she did not think she had been sexually harassed and that she had not interacted with the two men before the incident.

Asked to respond to the incident, i-Cable’s Executive Director Ronald Chiu Ying-chun told HK01: “Everyone understands the environment at the time, on the south stand it’s basically a carnival, so even if it happened, everyone should just laugh about it.”

He added that people were sharing the clip for laughs and that the company would not investigate the matter further.

Chiu later told Ming Pao that i-Cable had contacted Kwok, and that the company would cooperate if she expressed any needs.

According to Ming Pao, the EOC said kissing someone on the cheeks without consent could constitute sexual harassment, but whether it was covered by the sexual discrimination ordinance would depend on the situation at the time and the relationship between the parties.

Chris Yeung, chair of the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association, said that he wished to respect Kwok and did not want to put pressure on her. He said that any follow up action would depend on her feelings and how she wanted to handle the matter.

Asked whether the incident constituted indecent assault, barrister Senia Ng told Commercial Radio on Wednesday that the atmosphere of the situation should be taken into account, but the most important thing was whether Kwok felt that she had been violated.

Diamond Kwok. Photo: LinkedIn.

“If you’re talking about sexual harassment, then did she feel that she was violated?… If she did, she can reserve the right to look into it.”

She said that, even if the two men did not live in Hong Kong, the EOC can summon them back to testify if necessary.

Let her do her job

A similar incident at the end of March launched a movement with the hashtag #deixaelatrabalhar – let her do her job – in Brazil after reporter Bruna Dealtry was kissed on the lips as she was reporting live at a football match.

Afterwards, she wrote on Facebook that the man should be ashamed of what he did and that she deserved respect. “I was kissed on the lips, without my permission, while I was doing my job. I didn’t know how to react and couldn’t understand how someone could think they have the right to act that way,” she said in a quote translated by CNN.

She added that the man’s actions showed that the hard work she had put into her job as a sports reporter had no value to him.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.