What This News Anchor Did to His Female Co-Host on Air Has the Internet Divided

August 2nd 2016

Lucy Tiven

An awkward on-air exchange between two Australian news anchors has spurred a heated discussion about sexual harassment and consent on social media.

On Monday night, 9News anchor Tony "Chompers" Jones attempted to bid his co-anchor Rebecca Judd farewell with a kiss on the cheek during her last on-air appearance before she takes maternity leave.

Judd dodged the kiss, and Jones recoiled, appearing somewhat shocked by her rebuff.

The colleagues jovially addressed the awkward moment on social media.

anchors tweets

But that didn't stop some Twitter users from attacking Judd and accusing her of having bad manners.

Others thought the backlash illustrates how sexual harassment is often justified or ignored.

Some Twitter users took issue with the argument that Judd was rude, and asserted that violating someone's personal space without their consent was a much greater faux-pas than refusing to accept a kiss on the cheek.

High profile cases like the Brock Turner trial have spread awareness of how victim-blaming impacts survivors of sexual violence. However, the same unsettling logic also surfaces when we talk about how consent factors into women's everyday experiences.

On Monday and Tuesday, Donald and Eric Trump made comments about sexual harassment in the workplace that were widely interpreted as victim-blaming. Donald Trump said that he hoped his daughter Ivanka Trump would respond to being sexually harassed at work by finding a different job, while the younger Trump said that a "strong, powerful woman" like his sister wouldn't allow herself to be sexually harassed.

Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, one of the women who alleges that she was sexually harassed by ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, pointed this out in a tweet.

“We are in a society that still puts the focus and responsibility on the woman who is experiencing any kind of violence – whether it’s domestic abuse, sexual harassment, or sexual assault,” Lisa Ruchti, a professor of sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, told USA Today.

Whether or not Jones' smooch was uncalled for, viewers attacks' on Judd certainly veered into victim-blaming territory, criticizing her character and manners without acknowledging her right to reject a physical advance — even one meant to be innocuous.

You can watch the full video below and on YouTube.


[h/t Mic]