'Ghastly,' 'Grotesque': EU president's hair-tousling incident is close to sexual misconduct, UK's Amber Rudd says

  • European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker greeted a female colleague by ruffling her hair.
  • Many, many people thought it was bizarre and sexist.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would be investigated for sexual misconduct if he was a British politician, according to UK Work & Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd.

She was referring to the way Juncker greeted Pernilla Sj√∂lin, the European Commission’s deputy chief of protocol, last week, when he tousled the back of her hair. In Britain, Rudd’s remarks come after Juncker was seen touching British Prime Minister Theresa May on the arm, in a potentially patronising manner, after she confronted him at a meeting during Brexit discussions. In that incident, May believed Juncker had insulted her by calling her “nebulous” in the media. In response, Juncker raised his arm and placed his hand on May’s upper arm, as if placating an angry child.

Theresa May Jean-Claude Junckerhttps://video.consilium.europa.eu/en/webcasts

Juncker has a reputation among European politicians for being a bit touchy-feely. Not everyone likes it.

“(He’s) ghastly. What I minded before that were those pictures of the way he was holding the Prime Minister. I did not like that,”Rudd told The Telegraph.

“It’s grotesque. I mean, if that happened in our parliament I hope there would be a formal complaint. When I used to go to the EU for meetings, I often had a terrible cold to insist that I didn’t get enveloped in a bear hug. All the EU commissioners love doing their big hugs,” Rudd said.

Here’s the video:

Many, many women expressed their disgust on Twitter. Here’s a typical reaction:

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