Cycling champion sparks sexism row after comment about journalist's top

Cycling champion sparks sexism row after comment about journalist's top

This week a Belgian sports journalist has sparked fury after making a 'sexist' comment about a young reporter's top on Twitter.

Recently, British TV presenter Piers Morgan also came under fire for making a comment about a woman's clothing: 

The trouble began when Belgian journalist and former pro athlete Sven Spoormakers took to his Twitter account to post a picture of Argentinian journalist Belén Mendiguren interviewing cyclists during the Vuelta a San Juan cycling race in Argentina. Spoormakers was accused of objectifying the reporter after he captioned the image "Is it cold in Argentina?"

However, Australian journalist Sophie Smith took umbrage over Spoormakers' remark, and defended Mendiguren by retweeting the post and writing: "Seriously? Please tell me this is lost in translation and you did not just publicly objectify a young female reporter. Speaking from experience, let me say she does the exact same job as you but has to work and withstand twice as much still because of bullsh*t like this. [sic]"

Spoormakers attempted to defend himself by replying: "Objectify, really? Come on. Don’t draw the feminist card on this one. 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. Or calling it a disgrace."

Menddiguren herself then responded to the caption by writing to Smith: "Thank you Sophie, it’s gonna take time, but I really hope men will finally understand that this kind of comments are a complex gender issue. We live with this kind of gender violence since we r born. I invite everyone to ask your closest female friends about it as a first step. [sic]"

Spoormakers seemed to later recognize that his caption had been in bad taste, and wrote to Menddiguren: "What was meant to be a funny remark, turned out to be offensive to a lot of people. That was bad judgement. Sorry. And to @lelumendy in particular: we never met, but if you're ever in Belgium, you're welcome to discover I'm not the brontosaurus you think I am. [sic]"