Model and influencer Morgan Riddle details stories of harassment at Super Bowl, causing panic attack
Influencer and model Morgan Riddle has detailed her experience at Super Bowl LVIII, saying she was repeatedly “grabbed, groped [and] harassed” by men over the weekend in Las Vegas.
Riddle, who has more than 600,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok, revealed the saga at Allegiant Stadium on her Instagram stories.
The 26-year-old said she spent the third quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs’ win in the bathroom having a panic attack after a number of encounters with men at the ground.
“I can’t believe the levels of harassment we dealt with this weekend from men,” she wrote of the experience of her and other female friends.
“In the last 3 days I’ve been grabbed, groped, harassed, cat called incessantly — basically every few minutes when we were out in public. And it was really bad at the game.
“We couldn’t even enjoy the game without getting bothered by drunk, rude gross male fans. It’s extremely stressful and scary.”
One man, Riddle said, “used his kid as a vehicle to try to hit on us”.
“His own son, a child, turned to him and said ‘Dad, what are you doing?’,” she wrote of the boy, who she said looked about 10 years old.
“How do you think little boys become obnoxious men?” she said over video of her trying to control her breathing in a bathroom stall.
Riddle, once dubbed “the most famous woman in men’s tennis” by the New York Times, became a crowd favourite at this year’s Australian Open when she made good on a pledge to eat Vegemite if partner and American star Taylor Fritz reached the quarterfinals.
Loading Instagram content
She said she had “never experienced something like this with tennis”.
“I just hope any guy reading this understands the gravity of your words and actions. We’re all just there to try and watch a football game,” she wrote.
“Getting grabbed by grown men is scary.”
Riddle shared one reply victim-blaming her, saying “maybe it’s way you dress?”, but also several others thanking her and showing solidarity with her plight.
One person, who said they worked in sports public relations, said they had not returned to an NFL game after being assaulted in the tunnel six years ago.
Another said they once worked for an NFL team and “dealt with this behavior every single game”.
“I only did one season and vowed to never work in the league,” they wrote.
Another said they “had dreams of being a sports reporter, and I lasted a year in the industry because of this” sort of behaviour.
A common story
These stories are reflected by data over the years and around the world.
Family and sexual violence around football games, overwhelmingly committed by men, has been studied in multiple countries.
A La Trobe University study, in conjunction with the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, looked at violence in New South Wales on 18 State of Origin game nights from 2012 to 2017.
The research found a 40.7 per cent increase in domestic assaults and a 55.2 per cent rise in assaults more broadly on Origin night.
A study published in the American Economic Journal found daily reports of rape involving victims between 17 and 24 years old rose by approximately 28 per cent on US college football game days, predominantly between strangers, although there was also a rise found in incidents where the victim and perpetrator knew each other.
“Our analysis suggests that this rise in sexual assault during big college football games is likely due to the increased partying and alcohol consumption that accompany them,” the study’s authors wrote in The Conversation.
In the UK last year, a paper published in Youth, a peer-reviewed sociology and cultural studies journal, cited a 2013 study that found domestic violence increased by 26 per cent when the England national team won or drew in a football game, and increased by 38 per cent when they lost.
It prompted a confronting campaign from the UK’s National Centre for Domestic Violence with the tagline “If England gets beaten, so will she”.
Most studies cite the consumption of alcohol as exacerbating the problem around sporting events like major football games.
Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered each Friday.