Maxime Hamou, a 21-year-old French tennis player, has been banned from the French Open after groping a female reporter on live television.
After his first-round loss on Monday, Hamou was being interviewed by Maly Thomas, a reporter with the Eurosport program Avantage Leconte. During the broadcast, Hamou can be seen putting his arm around Thomas’ shoulder, pulling her toward him, and forcibly kissing the side of her face and neck.
As she tries to dodge him and push him away, looking visibly uncomfortable, he pulls her back, all while other Eurosport commentators in the studio laughed and clapped. Thomas continued the interview until Hamou wrapped his arm around her neck and appeared to grope her breast.
Following the obviously disgusting behavior, the French Tennis Federation on Tuesday banned him from the French Open, saying, “The management of the tournament has decided to revoke Maxime Hamou’s accreditation following his reprehensible behavior with a journalist yesterday.”
And in the grand tradition of terrible non-apologies that pretend to take responsibility but clearly dumps actual accountability on the aggrieved party, Hamou “apologized” to Thomas via an Instagram post (yes, Instagram):
I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview. I just lived a wonderful week here in Roland Garros living my most beautiful emotions as a tennis player, and I let my overflow of enthusiasm express myself awkwardly towards Maly, who I know and sincerely respect. Nothing of all that is written was my intention.
I am at her disposal to apologize to her in person if she so wishes. I learn every day from my mistakes to become a better tennis player and a better person.
This may be a translation from French, but as far as apologies go, this one is pretty bad: the conflation of intention and action, the minimizing and deflecting of the issue (his unwanted groping of her body) down to a bullshit sensitivity to his “beautiful emotions.” It’s a particularly dumb thing to say when Thomas herself described the experience as “frankly unpleasant,” adding, “If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him.”
Eurosport also apologized for the interview as well, and despite declaring that they do not condone Hamou’s “highly inappropriate” conduct, they didn’t seem to address their own commentators’ behavior at all.