Sammy Nickalls
September 24, 2015 11:37 am

Kiss cams may be the turning point of many romantic comedies, but they just aren’t always a good idea IRL. That’s the argument a letter to Syracuse.com made — an argument that may cause Syracuse University to get rid of their smooch cam.

Inspired by an article on a New York Mets kiss cam stunt that was deemed homophobic, Steve Port wrote in a letter to the editor explaining a horrifying spectacle he saw at a Syracuse game earlier this month:

But this wasn’t the only unacceptable kiss cam behavior Port witnessed at that game. The next “couple” shown on the screen clearly weren’t romantically involved, and again, the woman shown was shaking her head ‘no.’ “I then see no less than six sets of hands from the seats around her shove her unwilling face into his, crowd cheers,” Port wrote. “It makes me sick that in a day and age where sexual assault (particularly on college campuses) is so rampant that school officials would allow such a display to happen.”

In response to the letter, the university pulled the kiss cam from last Saturday’s game. “We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor,” Syracuse athletics department spokeswoman Sue Edson told the Associated Press.

Port wasn’t intending to “kill” the kiss cam, but raise awareness about the problems surrounding it, he told the AP. “I was just out to raise an important issue that I saw happening and that’s important to me,” Port said. “I’ve always kind of been a little put off by it anyway, but never witnessed an actual act of — oh, my God, this woman is saying no and it didn’t matter.”

Syracuse University senior Elaina Crockett, who writes a column about gender and sexuality for the student newspaper, told the AP that there are multiple options — polling the student body, or coming up with rules, such as moving on quickly if it’s obvious that the featured “couple” doesn’t want to kiss. “Just because I’m sitting somewhere doesn’t mean that I’m entitled to kiss this stranger. That’s a horrible assumption that we’ve created,” she told the AP.

Syracuse wouldn’t be the first to reconsider their kiss cam. In response to the aforementioned Mets controversy, the team released a statement: “While intended to be lighthearted, we unintentionally offended some. Our organization is wholly supportive of fostering an inclusive and respectful environment at games.”

While the kiss cam can, indeed, be lighthearted and fun, it can quickly turn into a debacle laced with peer pressure and mob mentality. Respect is always the name of the game, and when we force others into physical acts with which they’re uncomfortable — even if they’re in the name of so-called “team spirit” — the kiss cam turns into something much darker. Kudos to Syracuse for listening to Port’s letter and reconsidering the role of the kiss cam at their games.

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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