International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates has sparked a backlash in Australia for “bullying” a female politician for attending the Tokyo Games opening ceremony, with some dubbing her a “mansplaining dinosaur”. Coates, who also heads the Australian Olympic Committee, publicly rebuked Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk over her plan not to attend the event, as her state capital Brisbane was named the 2032 host city late on Wednesday was. “You’re going to the opening ceremony,” he said, crossing his arms and sitting back in his chair. “I’m still the vice president of the candidacy leadership group and, as far as I understand, there will be an opening and closing ceremony in 2032 and you’re all going to go there and understand the traditional parts of it, what’s involved in an opening ceremony, ” They said.
“So none of you are staying behind and hiding in your rooms, okay?”
Palaszczuk – one of the most senior women in Australian politics – looked uncomfortably silent during her monologue.
“I don’t want to offend anyone, therefore,” she said at a later press conference, before backing out.
Australian lawmakers have criticized Coates for his behaviour, calling for him to apologize and even resign.
Independent Senator Rex Patrick tweeted: “John Coates should resign upon his return from Tokyo.” “He is a social and political dinosaur who has spent too long in the rare, self-interested @Olympics bubble.”
Social media users also called out Coates for “bullying” the centre-left leader.
“Someone asked what the definition of a mansplaining dinosaur looks like and Coates just raised his hand,” tweeted one.
Former Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell called it “disgusting”, while Conservative MP Darren Chester called it an “outrageous performance that was full of arrogance”.
Palazzuk, who has been under political pressure to fly to Tokyo during the pandemic, played down the incident, telling public broadcaster ABC that Coates was “brilliant” and “the driving force behind us securing the Olympics”.
Strict international border closures prevent most Australians from traveling abroad, while nearly half of the country’s population of about 25 million are currently in lockdown.
The Australian Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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