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‘Dozhd’ TV host apologizes for outdated views on ‘personal space’ following sexual harassment allegations

Source: Meduza

Pavel Lobkov, a television host at the independent network Dozhd, has offered his apologies to everyone “discomforted by his frivolous behavior” who “had the courage to talk about it publicly.” On July 13, Lobkov was one of several journalists and former journalists in Russia accused on Twitter of acts of sexual harassment and abuse. 

“Yes, I grew up in a time when students lived with teachers, and hugging a colleague at a friendly party or even kissing them was considered okay. I’m not justifying myself — I’m just asking you to understand me. For me, personal-space boundaries are still what they were in the 2000s,” Lobkov wrote on Facebook. “I didn’t notice that new ethics had arrived with its new definitions of personal space and personal boundaries. I continued making risky jokes about these issues and, yes, I hugged my colleagues, gave them questionable compliments, commented on their physical attractiveness, and hinted at intimacy, believing that this didn’t cross the line of ordinary flirting.”

Lobkov maintains that he never assaulted anyone, abused alcohol, exerted pressure on anyone, or wielded his position at Dozhd in relations with colleagues.

Dozhd editor-in-chief Tikhon Dzyadko also extended his apologies to anyone Pavel Lobkov may have offended and promised to look into the matter and discuss it publicly. “We will conduct an audit of staff relations within the company to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” Dzyadko said in a Facebook post.

On July 13, several men tweeted sexual-harassment allegations against Pavel Lobkov, who announced publicly in June 2019 that he is gay. For example, Alexander Syrnikov tweeted that Lobkov “is a fucking harasser” who tried to kiss him without consent while Syrnikov was interning at Dozhd. He also shared a similar story from another man who contacted him anonymously.

In a series of tweet threads on July 13, several men who work or have worked in the Russian media were also named in rape, abuse, and harassment allegations, including MBK Media chief editor Sergey Prostakov, MBK Media photographer Andrey Zolotov, Sberbank SMM-manager Ruslan Gafarov, and Sberbank projects head Sergey Minenko. Prostakov subsequently resigned.

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