Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon have been condemned for mocking the apparent lack of Qatari women watching the World Cup.
Rami Ykmour, the Lebanese-Australian co-founder of popular restaurant chain Rashays, shared a segment from Nine’s Today show and accused the hosts of displaying “pure racism”.
His comments were made in regards to a TikTok shared by 9 News in which sports reporter Clint Stanaway described the atmosphere in Doha as “strange”.
“I’ve been to World Cups before and it’s just a different atmosphere, I guess,” he said.
In response, Stefanovic sarcastically said: “It’s good to see a lot of women to see it enjoying it over there too, Clinty.”
“There weren’t too many in the stands,” replied Stanaway.
Laughing, co-host Ally Langdon said: “Haven’t spotted one there yet.”
Replaying the video, Mr Ykmour disagreed with the comments and called on Stefanovic to apologise.
“I’ve watched the soccer and there’s plenty of women. Not to mention the racism,” he said.
“Any chance to punch anyone of Middle Eastern background, they will, and they’ve got to understand there’s a lot of us out here and that’s not the way we think, that’s not the way we behave.
“That is just pure, pure racism.”
Qatar’s women’s rights record lashed
Photos taken of crowds of fans watching the World Cup in Doha have pictured women, female fans are in the minority.
Qatar’s rules around male guardianship of women has also been criticised by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the past. In a 2021 report released by the HRW, the non-governmental organisation called attention to rules which state Qatari women must obtain permission from male guardians to “marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad until certain ages, and receive some forms of reproductive health care”.
Senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, Rothna Begum said that the laws, regulations and policies restricted the ability of women to live “full, productive, and independent lives”.
“Male guardianship reinforces the power and control that men have over women’s lives and choices and may foster or fuel violence, leaving women few viable options to escape abuse from their families and husbands,” she said.
World Cup fans dispute Stefanovic
However, comments in Mr Ykmour’s videos largely agreed with the entrepreneur. Many said they had attended games where female fans were also present.
“Literally sat next to a Qatari woman cheering with her son, and directly behind three Qatari women, not to mention the whole stadium,” wrote one comment.
“I was at a game yesterday and there were plenty of women around me!!,” shared another.
Comments on the 9News TikTok also criticised the segment for focusing on the Qatar government’s ban on booze being sold inside the stadiums.
“Just imagine angry fan and drunk too (sic). Thank god Qatar banned beer,” one comment read.
“It’s strange because they are sober for the first time in years,” shared another.
“It’s like people are shocked that it’s possible to have fun without alcohol involved,” read a similar comment.
Originally published as Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon lashed for comments about Qatari women at the World Cup
Story Credit: news.com.au