The president of Ecuador has apologised for saying women only report harassment “when it comes from an ugly person”.
His comments at conference in the city of Guayaquil on Friday sparked uproar online. At the same event Lenin Moreno also said that men faced the constant threat of being falsely accused of harassment by women.
As the backlash mounted, he tweeted that he “did not intend to minimise an issue as serious as violence or abuse”. “I apologise if it was understood that way,” he added. “I reject violence against women in all its forms!”
Addressing the conference in Guayaquil, President Moreno had said that men are “permanently subjected to the danger of being accused of harassment”. “Women often report harassment, it is true, and it is good that they do so,” he went on, before claiming that women often “get angry with ugly people” in harassment cases.
“That is to say, it is ‘harassment’ when it comes from an ugly person,” he said. “But if the person is good looking… they usually do not think it is harassment.” After footage of the speech was shared online, the president’s comments attracted widespread criticism.
One Twitter user wrote: “According to Lenin Moreno women only report harassment when the perpetrator is ‘ugly’. Now it makes sense why they cut $876,000 for the prevention of gender violence: for this lot our lives our worthless.” Another added: “We are governed by a misogynist!”