Crisis Communications – Sexist Olympic PR Problems

All this week I have been planning to write about the Olympics, since I really enjoy watching them (and no, not just the tennis portion). At first I was going to write about the Russian athletes who were banned from the Olympics for failing drug tests. I had written earlier in the year about Sharapova’s Drug Crisis and thought I would expand on that.

However, as I watched the swimming competition where Katinka Hosszu won the gold medal (and broke a world record) and heard the commentator credit her husband for her win I knew what I wanted to write about. At that time I actually said out loud “what in the world, was he in the pool swimming, too, perhaps pushing her along?” Not knowing at that time that this was one of many sexist comments that were to come. So as you probably figured out, this post is going to focus on the sexist comments made by the commentators at the Olympics!

A few of the others that caught my attention?

My favorite response to the Chicago Tribune?

  • As I was watching the Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beach volleyball match the commentators mentioned that Walsh Jennings had three kids and was still winning gold. What? What does having kids have to do with her being able to win gold? Are we in awe of Michael Phelps because he has a child and can still win gold?

I know there are other examples, and many of them not just from the men commentators. Such as when the women commentators are ogling over the men’s bodies. When did that become ok?

In Crisis Communications – Women: Get On Your Knees, I wrote about Serena Williams’ comments in regards to the statements that Raymond Moore, the now former CEO of the California’s Indian Wells Tennis Garden, made about female tennis players. So, commentators and media having the same sexist mindset is not surprising to me.

But I have to ask, how can we move forward and not only prevent this from happening, but how do we change this mindset so it doesn’t continue to happen? Is there a “standard” media training that all reporters and commentators are required to participate in (perhaps on a yearly basis)?

I would love to know your thoughts and opinions on how we can make a change.

Written by
at Aug 12, 2016

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