The Syracuse University Carrier Dome kiss cam was taken out of service over the weekend and was not in operation during the Syracuse-Central Michigan University football game, apparently because a letter to the editor on Syracuse.com expressed the opinion that it encouraged sexual assault. So-called kiss cams are a tradition in some stadiums in which the scoreboard camera pans the crowd and picks out a couple who find themselves being displayed over or under a banner that encourages/demands that they kiss as the crowd roars. Typically, they do, laugh, and life goes on.
Yes, it’s stupid.
Letter writer Steve Port described watching two kiss cam scenes in which women didn’t seem to want to be kissed, but nearby men kissed them anyway as the crowd cheered. He said such a practice condones and encourages “sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement, at best. And they are an actual instance of assault, at worst…No one has the right to forcefully touch someone be it a hug, a kiss or a violent rape.”
Well, I certainly agree that rape cam is a bad idea.
Port argued that “the Syracuse University student government, the chancellor, the athletic director, etc. review what happened last weekend and seriously consider the ramifications of what they are encouraging.” Spooked by the letter and the online response to it, the Syracuse administration discontinued the gimmick. One letter is all it took. “We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor. We discussed this with POMCO, the sponsor, and they supported that approach,” Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director for communications, said in an email.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
Is the kiss cam a provocation to sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement and therefore unethical?
My view? Panning the crowd and putting people up on the Jumbotron because they are old, sexy, cute, funny looking or picking their noses is unethical. Still, it’s a public event and on TV, so there is unavoidable implied consent to be filmed, videoed, put on TV or the Jumbotron, and the people who make the decisions who to show cannot be trusted to use taste or compassion. If it bothers you, don’t go, wear a mask, or be absolutely still. For better or worse, it’s part of the package.
The kiss cam is just an especially obnoxious part of this stadium culture. Where it is used, it is treated as a tradition. One accepts being subjected to a tradition by submitting to it with one’s attendance. As such, it is no different from standing under mistletoe or going to a New Years Eve party…indeed, it is exactly like those events. Do mistletoe and New Years condone and encourage “sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement”? Well, I’m sure Steve Port thinks so, but his mind has been infected by little worms carrying the political correctness hypersensitivity mindset.
If a man in any of these situations kisses a women without her consent by look or word, he’s a jackass, and technically engaging in assault. A woman who allows him to do it is either consenting, or needs to learn a right hook. The fact that the scoreboard camera, or the hanging mistletoe, or a dropping ball in Times Square invites a couple to kiss as an embodiment of traditions—all silly and disposable—is not leave for anyone to abandon manners and respect. I have seen women, and men, decline kiss invitations under the white berries. I’ve never seen this on New Years, first because people are usually smashed, and second because I hate New Years, but seriously: inviting sexual assault?
Baloney, Steve. Baloney, Syracuse.
Port was within his rights to raise the issue, and in a sane world it would have been shrugged off as what it is: some guy trying to earn a sensitivity merit badge. Pulling the kiss cam because of a single letter is just typical university spinelessness. The vast majority of people who go to sports events think kiss cams are just part of the fun. Those who don’t think so go along with it to be good sports, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either. The determination of Port and his ilk to make everything, innocent, silly or trivial, seem sinister as a part of a war on women will eventually rob college life of all enjoyment, and since nobody learns much in these over-priced institutions, what good will they be?