U.S. Men’s Fencing Team Wears Pink Facemasks to Protest Teammate Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Men's fencing
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The U.S. Men’s Fencing Team donned pink facemasks on Friday to protest a teammate accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct.

Alex Hadzic, a 29-year-old fencing team alternate, has been accused of sexual misconduct between 2013 and 2015 by three women.

Hadzic denies the allegations.

However, despite his denial, Hadzic’s teammates Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald, and Yeisser Ramirez, wore pink facemasks in solidarity with sexual assault victims, while Hadzic appeared in a black mask.

Hadzic had been suspended from participating in Olympic activities by an independent agency that reviews sexual misconduct cases. However, an arbitrator reviewed the allegations against him and decided that there was insufficient evidence to support the suspension. The arbitrator claimed that Hadzic’s inclusion on the team would not be “detrimental to the reputation of the United States or his sport.”

Still, despite that, his teammates protested him by wearing pink facemasks, and Jackie Dubrovich, an Olympic fencer, took to Instagram to celebrate the protest as an example of “PERFORMATIVE ACTIVISM.”

“THE PEOPLE/SYSTEMS WHO ENABLED & PROTECTED A VIOLENT PREDATOR ARE NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE,” Dubrovich wrote according to NPR. “FEMALE ATHLETES WERE NOT PROTECTED & OUR SAFETY WAS DEEMED UNIMPORTANT.”

“Hadzic was prohibited from staying in the Olympic Village. Instead, he’s been staying at a hotel nearby,” NPR reported. “He also was forced to travel to Tokyo separately from his teammates and forbidden from practicing with female teammates.”

Team USA fencing finished ninth in the Olympics after losing to Japan. As an alternate, Hadzic was not needed and did not see action.

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