Foreign Policy Digital

Sexpat Journalists Are Ruining Asia Coverage

Newsroom predators in foreign bureaus hurt their colleagues — and their stories.

Today, I’m known as a strong advocate in my social circles, promoting women’s and minorities’ voices in media. But when I first moved to China seven years ago, as a 23-year-old Canadian reporter of Chinese ancestry, it was a different story. To some men in my professional network, I was a target, not a peer.

But the path from silent target to advocate has been a rocky one, a road signposted by incidents of harassment and aggression.

Once, a fellow journalist exited our shared taxi outside my apartment. I thought we were sharing a cab to our respective homes, but he had other expectations, and suddenly his tongue was in my face. On another evening, another journalist grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of a nightclub without a word. I was clearly too drunk to consent; it was a caveman approach to get me into bed while I was intoxicated. And on yet another occasion, in a Beijing restaurant, a Western public relations executive reached under my dress and grabbed my crotch.

The incidents aren’t limited by proximity. I have received  unsolicited “dick pics” from foreign correspondents — generally on the highly monitored messaging service WeChat.

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