Credit: Screen grab/Twitter
Feminists Outraged by Ex-Cyclist Comments About Braless ESPN Reporter’s Top: ‘Is It Cold?’

Feminists Outraged by Ex-Cyclist Comments About Braless ESPN Reporter’s Top: ‘Is It Cold?’

A Belgian journalist and former professional cyclist sparked outrage after commenting on a braless ESPN reporter’s revealing top.

In a tweet posted this week, Sven Spoormakers shared a photo of Belen Mendiguren interviewing an athlete competing in the 2020 Vuelta a San Juan road cycling race.

“Is it cold in Argentina?” Spoormakers said in the caption to the since-deleted tweet, an apparent reference to Mendiguren’s nipples.

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Spoormakers’ tweet earned him swift and vehement backlash, with many accusing him of “objectifying” the female journalist.

MORE: Video of ‘Violated’ Reporter Getting Smacked on Butt Goes Viral – More Than 10 Million Views

“Please tell me this is lost in translation and you did not just publicly objectify a young female reporter,” tweeted Australian journalist Sophie Smith in a reply to Spoormaker.

Mendiguren herself weighed in, accusing Spoormakers of having perpetrated “gender violence” against her.

“[I]t’s gonna take time, but I really hope men will finally understand that this kind of comments are a complex gender issue,” Mendiguren tweeted, after thanking Smith for interjecting on her behalf.

Spoormakers, meanwhile, accused Smith of playing the “feminist card.”

“She knows exactly what she’s wearing – or not wearing – and why. If I would interview a female athlete with my balls out, you’d be joking about it too,” he said in a deleted tweet.

Spoormakers apologized on Thursday for his “bad judgment” and said his comment about Mendiguren was intended as a “funny remark.”

Sexism in the sports journalism field

Just last month, a sexism controversy erupted after a man slapped the rear end of a reporter covering a race for a local news station.

“To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better,” tweeted Alex Bozarijian, a Savannah, Georgia reporter, following the race.

An outpouring of support followed from feminists and from fellow women journalists, some of whom took the opportunity to make a broader point about sexism.

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Tommy Callaway, the man accused of smacking Bozarijian, was eventually arrested and charged with misdemeanor sexual battery.

Cover image: Belen Mendiguren. (Screen grab/Twitter)

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