Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is being castigated online after celebrating Sunday’s victory at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai by spraying one of the hostesses with champagne.
Images posted exhaustively on social media show the Mercedes driver standing on the top tier of a podium and unleashing a flow of freshly popped champagne on the helpless Formula One hostess, who kind of smiles uncomfortably in response.
The driver has since gotten a verbal lashing from web users who’ve called him out as being a “pig” and a “wanker” (he’s British, after all). Anti-sexism campaigners have likewise described Hamilton’s celebratory splashing as being “selfish and inconsiderate”—especially because he’d already been criticized for drenching a hostess with bubbly at the Spanish Grand Prix last year.
“It is surely a very difficult position to be a grid girl and she would have had little option but to stand there and take it,” Roz Hardie told MailOnline. Hardie is the chief executive of Object, a group campaigning against media sexism and “sex object culture”.
Hardie added that Hamilton’s signature move of douchery shines light on the general issue of women being sexualized in the sporting world.
“Motor racing appears to unnecessarily portray women as sexualised objects and that probably makes it even harder for the women to stand up for themselves. We would hope people in the industry would be respectful to these women.”
Users on Twitter seemed to hold a similar sentiment.
— Ryan Amor (@ryanlove) April 14, 2015
— Ponniyin Selvan (@catamaran_tales) April 14, 2015
A bulk of the comments pretty much just expressed sheer disgust.
— Elmer Olson (@ElmerOlson) April 13, 2015
— Caroline (@chopdoll24) April 14, 2015
— Erinne (@TweetErinne) April 13, 2015
Then some accused Hamilton’s critics of being racist.
— inthefastlane (@eannamorrissey) April 14, 2015
Another person accused Hamilton himself of being racist.
How about that racist Lewis Hamilton spraying an unsuspecting Chinese person with Champagne? what a pig.
— Hoops (@Mitch_J_Hooper) April 14, 2015
At the end of the day, the verbal battle will probably affect web users more than Hamilton and his piles of wealth (250 million USD, to be exact). But don’t even get The Telegraph started on that man’s hair.
[Images via Sina]