International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates on Thursday denied harassing a female politician to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, with some calling her a “mansplanning dinosaur”.
Coates, the head of the Australian Olympic Committee, publicly threatened Queensland Prime Minister Anastasia Balascook not to attend the event, which was named the host city of its state capital Brisbane 2032 late Wednesday.
“You’re going to the opening ceremony,” he said, crossing his arms and sitting back in his chair.
“I’m still the vice chairman of the Nomination Leadership Committee. As far as I understand, there will be a Opening and Closing Ceremony in 2032. You are all going to go there and understand its traditional parts, what’s in it is a Opening Ceremony,” he said.
“Then you’re not staying behind and hiding in your rooms, are you?”
One of the oldest women in Australian politics, Balassuk-Asa, was charming and quiet throughout her monologue.
“I don’t want to offend anyone, so,” he later told a news conference.
Australian lawmakers provoked Coates’ behavior, calling for an apology and resignation.
“John Coates should resign as soon as he returns from Tokyo,” Independent Senator Rex Patrick tweeted. “He’s a social and political dinosaur. He’s spent a lot of time on the rare, self – interested @ Olympics bubble.”
Social media users called Coates for the center-left leader’s “bullying.”
“Someone asked what the definition of a man dinosaur was, and Coates simply raised his hand,” one tweeted.
Former Swimming Australia CEO Lee Russell called it “disgusting”, while conservative MP Darren Chester called it “a disgraceful performance that exposed arrogance”.
In a statement issued by the Australian Olympic Committee, Coates said his comments were “completely misunderstood by those in the room”.
“Premier and I have a long and very successful relationship. We both know the spirit of my ideas and I have no indication that he was hurt in any way,” he said.
Balasuk, who is under political pressure to fly to Tokyo during the epidemic, downplayed the incident and told the broadcaster, ABC, that Coates was “fantastic” and “the driving force behind the defense of the Olympics.”
Most Australians are barred from traveling abroad due to severe international border closures, while half of the country’s 25 million people are locked up.
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