Leaders in men's tennis were forced to apologize today after a blatantly sexist display at the Association of Tennis Professionals' (ATP) NextGen Milan draw ceremony on Sunday.
At the beginning of the night, two women carrying the letters A and B walked down a catwalk with top players Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov on their arms. In order to choose which group they were with, the other players then had a choice between models who had a letter A or B hidden somewhere on their bodies.
Once chosen, the model walked down the catwalk with the player who chose her and revealed which letter he'd chosen by revealing a part of her body that was originally covered up. In a video from the night, one model can be seen showing a letter A marked on her thigh.
Critics of the event called the stunt "trashy," "uncomfortable," and a "disgrace." And many pointed out that the event, which was promoted with the tagline "the future is now," was actually moving us backward as a society.
We can't say we disagree. This is a blatantly inappropriate and unnecessary use of women's bodies and sexuality that takes these models' agency away and instead makes them props to celebrate and entertain men.
Facing the backlash, the ATP released a joint statement with RedBull, who sponsored the event.
The organization recognized that the ceremony was "in poor taste" and "unacceptable," yet many are saying the apology is too little too late. Because, really, they shouldn't have to apologize at all. With the number of people who would have had to heard and approved this idea, it should never have happened.
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