In recent years, there has been a great deal of media scrutiny on the issue of sexual misconduct. This has particularly been the case in Hollywood following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017 which sparked outraged across the world.
However, the media has also focused its attention on sexual misconduct in other areas outside the confines of Hollywood. Discussions on the contentious topic have sought to educate and enlighten people on how widespread sexual assault and harassment really are and how we can best combat it.
But before the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the line between sexual misconduct and acceptable behavior was a lot more “blurred”.
In fact, recently, a clip from late 2016 was unearthed featuring an unsettling scene of consent and personal space violation.
Viewers were outraged after an instance of clear sexual misconduct was captured on live TV:
The incident in question occurred in the middle of a game show skit mocking the robbery of Kim Kardashian’s Paris apartment. The woman playing Kim Kardashian – known as Soraya – had her breast kissed wholly against her will.
The shockingly unexpected encounter took place on the popular French TV show TPMP (Touche pas à mon poste! which translates to ‘Do not touch My TV’. The irony in the title of the show is that, in English, “touche pas” means “don’t touch”.
The skit was filmed as part of a project called ’35heuresdebaba’ (’35 hours of Baba’), in which TV host Cyril Hanouna attempted to break a French record by staying on air for 35 hours straight. It involved 21-year-old Soraya – as Kim Kardashian – being tied up in a bathtub in a locked “apartment” while a panelist on the game show, 54-year-old Jean-Michel Maire, pretended to be a locksmith.
During the segment, Maire unlocked the door in order to “free” Soraya prompting the show’s host, Hanouna, to suggest that Maire deserved a kiss from Soraya for his heroic efforts. In response to the request, Soraya can be seen repeatedly refusing to kiss the panelist to which Hanouna insists, “Just a little peck on the cheek”. However, when she turns her cheek away, Maire kisses her breasts instead.
Many viewers watched in fury when the blatant act of disregard for Soraya’s personal space unfolded.
In fact, as a result of the incident, the Superior Council of Audiovisual (CSA), the French body which regulates radio and television, was inundated with complaints. Although Hanouna asked Maire to apologize following the incident, this didn’t stop viewers tweeting their outrage.
According to French law, sexual assault refers to any sexual act which involves coercion, surprise, violence and or threat. It is punishable by five years in prison and a €75,000 ($90,600) fine. The incident occurred in October 2016 and is believed that neither Hanouna nor Maire released a statement or public apology following the encounter.