Tennis player Maxime Hamou was banned from the French Open in Paris after grabbing Eurosport reporter Maly Thomas and kissing her during a live interview on May 29 (video below).
After giving Thomas an unwanted kiss, Hamou went in for more, notes USA Today. Hamou held Thomas by her neck and shoulders as she tried to push him away during the awkward on-air harassment.
When Hamou began the unwanted advances, Thomas asked: "What are you doing?"
Hamou replied: "I don’t know," reports ThinkProgress.
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The French Tennis Federation condemned Hamou's behavior in a statement, notes the New York Daily News: "The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behavior with a journalist yesterday."
Some of the Eurosport staff clapped and laughed while the harassment took place.
"They laugh because they think it is a joke," Thomas told Huffington Post France, reports ThinkProgress. "But they quickly need to realize that is not the case."
"It was, frankly, unpleasant. If it hadn’t been on live broadcast, I would have punched him in the face," Thomas said.
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Hamou offered an apology on Facebook on May 30, notes BBC News:
I offer my deep apologies to Maly Thomas if she feels hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview I have just spent a magnificent week here at Roland Garros... and I expressed my overflow of enthusiasm crudely towards Maly, who I know and respect sincerely. I'm still learning every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.
Eurosport offered an apology to "any viewers who may have been affected" by the incident, and added: "We sincerely regret the incident that occurred during yesterday evening's interview. The behavior of the interviewee was highly inappropriate and we do not condone such conduct in any way."
The encounter with Thomas wasn't the first controversy of Hamou's tournament. He also walked out of an interview on May 26, and shouted at an umpire on May 29: "Why are you here?"
A similar incident happened in January 2016 when Melbourne Renegades cricket star Chris Gayle flirted with Network Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin during an interview, reported Business Insider.
"I wanted to be interviewed by you as well," Gayle said. "That's the reason why I'm here, just to see your eyes for the first time. It's nice. So hopefully when I win this game, we can have a drink after. Don't blush, baby."
McLaughlin called the incident "disappointing," and said: "He'd done so well out there with the bat. I was really excited to talk to him about that, so I would have much preferred to be talking about that instead."
Gayle later apologized, and said he was joking.