Unwanted kiss: Why Spanish women say Luis Rubiales has to go

The controversy has spoiled the afterparty for Spain's World Cup winning team

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It’s been called Spain’s #MeToo moment – when Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales kissed footballer Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony following Spain’s victory in the World Cup in Australia.

In the tumultous days that have followed she has been clear that she did not give consent, while Mr Rubiales says the incident has been blown out of proportion and that the kiss was consensual.

That was on August 20th, but the controversy has rumbled on, gathering pace and global attention as Rubiales has resisted calls from all quarters – not least from the government and the football federation – to step down.

Amid heightened public debate, on Monday Rubialies’s mother announced she was on hunger strike in support of her son.


The incident has – once again – opened up a conversation in Spain about the culture of machismo and women’s rights.

Madrid-based Irish Times contributor Guy Hedgecoe traces the many turns, statements and counterstatements in a controversy that’s as much about women’s rights, power and sexism as it is about football.

Produced by Declan Conlon. Presented by Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast