Karl Stefanovich and Allison Langdon were slammed for mocking the apparent absence of Qatari women watching the World Cup.
Rami Ikmour, the Lebanese-Australian co-founder of the popular restaurant chain Rashays, shared a snippet from Nine’s Today and accused the hosts of being “pure racist”.
His comments were made in regards to TikTok shared by 9 News, in which sports reporter Clint Stanaway called the atmosphere in Doha “weird”.
“I’ve been to the World Championships before, and it’s probably just a different atmosphere,” he said.
In response, Stefanovich sarcastically said, “It’s nice to see a lot of women enjoying it too, Clinty.”
“There were not many people in the stands,” Stanaway replied.
Laughing, co-host Ellie Langdon said, “I haven’t spotted one yet.”
Watching the video, Mr. Ikmur disagreed with the comments and urged Stefanovic to apologize.
“I watched football, there are a lot of women. Not to mention racism,” he said.
“They will take any chance to hit someone with a Middle Eastern background, and they need to understand that there are a lot of us here, and we don’t think like that, we don’t behave like that.
“It’s just pure, pure racism.”
Qatar breaks women’s rights record
Photographs taken of crowds of fans watching the World Cup in Doha show women, female fans are in the minority.
Qatar’s rules regarding male guardianship of women have also been criticized by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the past. In a 2021 HRW report, the NGO drew attention to rules that require Qatari women to obtain permission from male guardians in order to “get married, study abroad on a government scholarship, work in many government positions, travel abroad before a certain age, and receive some form of reproductive health care.”
Rotna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said laws, regulations and policies limit women’s ability to live “full, productive and independent lives.”
“Male guardianship enhances men’s power and control over women’s lives and choices and can facilitate or fuel violence, leaving women with little real opportunity to escape abuse from their families and husbands,” she said.
World Cup fans argue with Stefanovic
However, the comments on Mr. Ikmur’s video are mostly in line with the entrepreneur’s opinion. Many said they attended games that were also attended by fans.
“Literally sat next to a Qatar who was rooting for her son, and right behind three Qatar, not to mention the entire stadium,” wrote one commentator.
“Yesterday I was at the game and there were a lot of women around me!!” shared another.
Comments on 9News TikTok also criticized the segment for focusing on the Qatari government’s ban on the sale of alcohol in stadiums.
“Just imagine an angry fan, and even drunk (sic). Thank God Qatar has banned beer,” one comment reads.
“It’s strange because they are sober for the first time in many years,” shared another.
“People seem to be shocked that it is possible to have fun without alcohol,” reads a similar comment.
Originally published as Karl Stefanovich and Allison Langdon criticized for comments about Qatari women at the World Cup
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