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News > World

Sexual Assaults: Entertainment World Rocked by More Sleaze

  • Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter smiles during an interview in Switzerland, April 2017.

    Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter smiles during an interview in Switzerland, April 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 November 2017
Opinion

Among the most recent allegations is a claim by U.S.A. women’s football team goalkeeper Hope Solo that she was sexually assaulted by a former FIFA president. 

The tsunami of sleaze engulfing the international entertainment world continues to swell, with the surfacing of fresh revelations concerning prominent figures in sport and culture.

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Among the most recent allegations is a claim by U.S.A. women’s football team goalkeeper Hope Solo that she was sexually assaulted by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2013.

In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Expresso, Solo said "I had Sepp Blatter grab my ass" backstage at the Ballon d’Or Awards just moments before the pair presented the award for women’s world player of the year.

Elaborating on the incident – which Blatter’s spokesman denied, saying "This allegation is ridiculous" – Solo told the Guardian: "I was in shock and completely thrown off.

"I had to quickly pull myself together to present my team-mate [striker Abby Wambach] with the biggest award of her career and celebrate with her in that moment, so I completely shifted my focus to Abby."

It is not the first time Solo has called attention to sexual assault in the sporting world. In a recent Instagram post responding to the allegations surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, she described such behaviour as "rampant."

"For the past few days, I have been thinking about all the uncomfortable situations myself and/or my team-mates have experienced throughout the years with trainers, doctors, coaches, executives and even team-mates," she posted.

"From inappropriate comments, unwanted advances and grabs of the ass to coaches and [general managers] and even press officers speaking about players’ ‘tits’ and physical appearance, sexual harassment is rampant in the sports world.

"I always felt I’d ‘handled it’ and stood up for myself in those situations, but there were never any consequences for the perpetrators. That needs to change. Silence will not change the world!"

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Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with USA Today published on Friday, Andy Holtzman became the 15th man to publicly accuse Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey of sexual assault.

"I had no idea I was far from alone," Holtzman told the newspaper. "It's a good feeling and a bad feeling at the same time. It felt better for me [to finally talk about it], and not so good for so many others who had the same or similar experiences."

Holtzman said he was groped by Spacey in 1981 while he was running the film program at New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater. Spacey, then an up-and-coming actor, walked into his office and sat at an empty desk.

"Within minutes, wordlessly, he was up and all over me," Holtzman said. "The aggression was certainly more than a grope. When I was finally able to push him off and scream, he theatrically stepped back, incredibly angry, grabbed his coat and bag, stormed out and slammed the door.

"It was the look on his face that was really shocking and then scary. The anger was undeserved. If you ask for something and get a no, then I can understand the anger, but you ask for nothing and then try to take everything? Where is that anger coming from?"

Also on Friday, it was announced that network production companies FX and FX Productions have severed all ties with comedian Louis C.K., who has confessed to committing a series of sexual assaults.

The companies said he will no longer serve as executive producer for any of the four shows they produce with him, including "Better Things," "Baskets," "One Mississippi" and "The Cops." He will also receive no compensation, CNN reported.

"Louis has now confirmed the truth of the reports relating to the five women victimized by his misconduct, which we were unaware of previously," a statement from FX and FX Productions said.

"As far as we know, his behavior over the past eight years on all five series he has produced for FX Networks and/or FX Productions has been professional. However, now is not the time for him to make television shows. Now is the time for him to honestly address the women who have come forth to speak about their painful experiences, a process which he began today with his public statement."

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