Just two days after Colombian reporter Julieth Gonzalez was assaulted on-camera while covering the World Cup in Russia, video of another female reporter on World Cup duty being sexually harassed has surfaced.
Swedish correspondent Malin Wahlberg was on assignment in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod ahead of Sweden’s clash with South Korea last Monday. The blonde correspondent, who works for Swedish sports outlet Sportbladet was on a march to the stadium accompanying a crowd of, mostly male, mostly drunk Swedish fans.
The behavior of the fans was what we’ve come to expect from soccer fans at international tournaments. Lots of singing, dancing and chanting while sporting Sweden jerseys, waving flags and carrying yellow and blue balloons. All fun and perfectly acceptable behavior for soccer fans at an international tournament like the World Cup, which former Sweden great Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently described as “the biggest party in the world.”
But as Wahlberg attempts to speak to members of the unruly crowd on their way to the stadium, things begin to turn ugly.
First, a man in a Sweden jersey rushes into frame from her right, planting a kiss on her cheek. Wahlberg maintains her composure, despite seeming to laugh nervously.
In another section of the video, she walks along interviewing a member of the crowd, while another man, who’s off-camera, drapes his arm over her shoulder. A fuzzy image of another man comes into frame from her left as he attempts to press his face uncomfortably close to hers. Another man comes rushing up from behind Wahlberg and musses her hair.
Again, Wahlberg never lets her professionalism slide. She attempts to fix her mussed hair as she continues to interview her subject, despite nearly being engulfed by the drunken yellow and blue-clad crowd. The men in the video have had their faces blurred out, so it’s impossible to know who they are.
Part of the fun of going to an immersive global sporting event like the World Cup is to lose yourself in the moment and get carried away. But that’s absolutely no excuse for this sort of behavior.
While we applaud Wahlberg’s composure and her professionalism, it’s unacceptable that anyone should be subjected to this sort of treatment while simply attempting to do their job. Even if on Monday that job involved courageously putting herself into the middle of a mob of boozed-up Swedish soccer supporters.
You can watch the video for yourself here. Just be warned, it doesn’t make for very comfortable viewing.
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