Boxer Kubrat Pulev forces kiss on female journalist, gets accused of sexual assault

A Bulgarian heavyweight boxer faces accusations of sexual assault, after he kissed a female journalist during an interview.

Fresh from his victory over rival Bogdan Dinu in their Las Vegas fight on Saturday (local time), Kubrat Pulev spoke to Vegas Sports Daily reporter Jenny Sushe backstage.

Footage of the interview shows Sushe asking Pulev if he thinks he deserves a shot at former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.

Pulev says he does, before grabbing Sushe by the chin and leaning in to forcibly kiss her on the lips. When he breaks away, Sushe laughs nervously, as Pulev thanks her for the interview and walks off camera.

"Jesus Christ," Sushe says just before the camera cuts out.

The video has since gone viral, with many people condemning Pulev for forcing himself on an unsuspecting woman half his size. Some said the unexpected kiss constituted sexual assault.

"Not sure what's worse, the brute and his entitled behaviour, or the men that don't see this as a problem," one Twitter user said.

A women's sports podcast tweeted that "no women deserves" to be kissed without her consent.

When asked about the experience on Twitter, Sushe said it was "embarrassing" and "strange".

Her employer, Vegas Sports Daily, released a statement slamming Pulev's actions and expressing its support for Sushe, saying she was "the victim of an unwanted, unexpected and unsolicited forceful kiss".

"What happened to Ms Sushe was completely blindsiding and unwarranted, and we share in her shock, hurt, embarrassment and general outrage.

"We want to make it clear that women should feel safe and comfortable to exercise the duties of their job, free of abuse, advances, harassment, etc in the workplace.

"Ms Sushe is a valued member of our contribution team and we do not condone the violation of the personal space of our contributors for any reason."

Vegas Sports Daily says it's investigating the incident and considering further actions.

On Tuesday (local time), Pulev released a statement on Twitter about what he called "the most commented kiss in the world".

He claimed Sushe was a friend of his and joined him after the interview for a post-fight celebration.

"I was so elated, I gave her a kiss," he says "We both laughed about it and thanked each other.

"There really is nothing more to this."

Women who work in television are often subjected to unwanted sexual advances from men live on air, particularly those who cover sports.

In April 2018, a Mexican journalist was surrounded by male football fans and repeatedly groped, while she reported from a match.

Just two months later, a man kissed and groped a German journalist during a live cross from the Football World Cup in Russia.


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