A Russian man who groped a female World Cup reporter during a live broadcast from the World Cup in Russia has apologised and said it was a ‘misunderstanding’ as he meant to touch her shoulder.
Colombian reporter Julieth Gonzalez Theran was working for German news channel Deutsche Welle, in the Russian city of Saransk, when the man ran up to her during a live shot, grabbed her breast, kissed her on the cheek and ran away.
Ms Gonzalez Theran bravely carried on presenting despite the harassment, but the man, named only as Ruslan, has offered his ‘profound apologies’.
He claimed he had a bet with friends that he could kiss a reporter live on air, and meant to put his hand on her shoulder but instead touched her breast by mistake.
He told the German broadcaster he had not picked on Ms Gonzales Theran for her age or gender but because she ‘happened to be nearby’.
Speaking to her on Skype to apologise, he said she ‘will never face another such incident in [her] career.’
‘I would not have believed it myself, but having looked at the video I realize that it looked ambiguous from the side.
‘I acted carelessly and did not think that I would cause you confusion and shock.’
The reporter told the Russian man in their Skype conversation that it was ‘unacceptable and disrespectful’ behaviour but accepted his apology.
She said: ‘I refuse to be a victim, I just want to continue with my job, reporting about football. I just want to close this chapter and I wish you the best.’
Reacting to the outpour of support after the incident, González Therán had said:
“I am overwhelmed and grateful for all the voices and solidarity expressed after this incident.
I don’t want to be a victim, I want to do the job I love. Today the man who assaulted me may be the subject, but from tomorrow I would like to be able to talk about football again.
To experience this World Cup and to work here was and is my dream. I won’t let him take that away from me.”