Colombian World Cup reporter groped during broadcast: 'We have to respect each other'

A Colombian television reporter who was groped and kissed by a passerby while reporting from Moscow during a live World Cup broadcast last week has told ESPN she felt "humiliated" by the incident, and she urged people to "respect each other" as a way to tackle other examples of "chauvinism" in society.

Julieth Gonzalez Theran was reporting live for the German outlet Deutsche Welle's Spanish-language channel before last Thursday's World Cup opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia. She had only been on the air for 10 seconds when a man approached her, grabbed her left breast and kissed her on the left cheek before leaving the scene.

The footage, in which Gonzalez Theran continued with her broadcast for several minutes, was subsequently shared widely on social media.

"I felt under pressure and humiliated," said Gonzalez Theran, who has previously worked freelance assignments for ESPN, in an exchange via WhatsApp. "That wasn't funny.

"I couldn't even think [after the incident happened]. It all happened so fast. I felt an inner strength, which allowed me to carry on."

Writing on Instagram shortly after the incident, Gonzalez Theran said female journalists "do not deserve this treatment" and "must identify the limits of affection and harassment."

She added that, while nothing like this had ever happened to her before personally, the issue is a widespread one that all people can combat.

"I've covered Champions League and Bundesliga this last year with ESPN as a live reporter," Gonzalez Theran said. "I have interviewed a lot of fans. But they all behaved well.

"It's the first time that it happened to me. I'm really happy that fans are excited about such an event. I just want them to respect my work.

"It's all about chauvinism, no matter if it's in football or in other fields. But the most important thing is that we have to respect each other."

Gonzalez Theran has continued reporting from the World Cup, including Japan's 2-1 victory over Colombia in Saransk, Russia, on Tuesday.

ESPN FC's Germany correspondent Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.