Syracuse University suspended its use of the "kiss cam" at sporting events following a letter to the editor on Syracuse.com that argued the gimmick sends the wrong message about campus sexual assault.
The kiss cam is a staple at many sporting venues. During breaks in play, a camera zeroes in on a man and woman and shows them in a heart frame on the Jumbotron while the crowd cheers for them to kiss.
"I wasn't out to kill the kiss cam," letter author Steve Port told the Associated Press. "I was just out to raise an important issue that I saw happening."
At the Sept. 12 Syracuse vs Wake Forest University football game at the Carrier Dome, Port says he watched the camera scan to three pairs. The first was a couple who obliged with a kiss. However, the second was "clearly not a couple."
"The male student pleaded his case for a kiss on the big screen while the female adamantly shook her head no. So what does this guy do? He grabs her head and shoves his tongue down her throat, the crowd cheers," Port wrote.
In another shot, Port says he saw a woman shake her head no—only for "no less than six sets of hands from the seats around her shove her unwilling face into his." The crowd again cheered, he wrote.
Those events "encourage and condone sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement, at best. And they are an actual instance of assault, at worst," he said.
Syracuse senior Elaina Crockett, who writes a student newspaper column about gender and sexuality, suggested the university poll students on whether or not to nix the kiss cam permanently, or possibly to reinstate it with guidelines.
"Just because I'm sitting somewhere doesn't mean that I'm entitled to kiss this stranger. That's a horrible assumption that we've created," she told the AP.
The university is assessing Port's concerns, a university athletics spokesperson says (Port, Syracuse.com, 9/23; AP/CBS News, 9/22).
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