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USA Fencing Team Wears Pink Masks in Protest of Teammate Accused of Sexual Assault, and In Support of Survivors

by Payton Toomey

On July 30th, Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez, members of the USA Fencing team, wore pink masks in support of sexual assault victims and in protest of teammate, Alen Hadzic.

According to NPR, Hadzic was accused by three women of sexual assault in the years 2013 to 2015. After making the team, multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct on his part and despite being currently investigated for said misconduct, Hadzic kept his spot on the Olympic team as an alternate. 

Hadzic was originally suspended from participating in the Summer Games but fought to end the suspension saying that he “rightfully earned” his spot on the team. USA Fencing and the nonprofit, SafeSport, put together a plan to keep Hadzic out of the Olympic Village and away from female athletes to prevent sexual assault from occurring. The “safety plan” included Hadzic flying on a different plane, staying in a hotel far away from the Olympic Village, and not practicing with any female athletes. 

Hazdic’s teammates were so outraged by his participation they all decided to wear pink masks, while Hazdic was singled out wearing a plain black mask. This simple act sparked a conversation about the lack of regard USA Fencing has for preventing sexual assault.

Top Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

More from BUST:

What US Shotputter Raven Saunders’ Olympic Podium Protest Means For Her And Her Message To The World

Norwegian Women’s Team Fined for Refusing to Wear Bikini Bottoms, Sporting Shorts Instead

Olympian Madeline Groves Drops Out Of Olympic Trials, Telling “Misogynistic Perverts”: “You Can No Longer Exploit Young Women and Girls”

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