Rugby fans harass young girls
A young all-female dance group were sexually harassed by rugby fans before the weekend’s Lions clash against the All Blacks.
HighJinx troupe director Carlene Newall de Jesus said her performers – girls aged between 13 and 16 – were subjected to lewd comments while performing before the test series opener at Eden Park on June 24.
Grown men asked the performers to give lap dances during the girls’ 90-minute performance outside Kingsland train station, she said.
One 13-year-old girl was asked how much it was ‘‘to get a handjob’’, she said.
Rugby supporters also asked the girls to spread their legs wider during the performance.
The troupe, a youth company specialising in aerial and acrobatic circus, had been invited to perform by the Kingsland Business Society as part of fan entertainment.
HighJinx were set to perform again this Saturday before the test series decider at Eden Park.
However, de Jesus received an email on Wednesday from the Kingsland Business Society stating due to health and safety regulations the performance would be cancelled.
De Jesus, who first wrote about the incident in a column for The Spinoff, said that no specific health and safety regulations were cited.
‘‘The biggest risk for the girls is the things people are saying and not the fact that they’re balancing on heads.’’
Most of the harassment came from men wearing Lions garb, she said.
De Jesus, who said a range of comments were made even before the girls had started performing, and as artistic director she was mindful of presenting the performers at the age they were.
‘‘The girls were shocked by the comments and didn’t know how to react.’’
Over the weekend at the Manny Pacquiao versus Jeff Horn boxing fight at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, three Australian women were subjected to a vile, degrading and sexist tirade while trying to watch the fight, which was called out over Twitter.
Kingsland Business Society chairman Steve Gillett said he was unaware of the incident and said the society’s manager Christine Foley was in charge of the entertainment. Foley was unable to be reached for comment.
Rugby fans asked the performers to give lap dances and made sexual comments.