Serena Williams slams Indian Wells CEO after he made sexist remarks

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For the past week, all of the major tennis players (save Maria Sharapova) have been at Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas tournament. Serena Williams has a lot of difficult history in particular at Indian Wells, and she personally boycotted the tournament for years after the crowd booed her and hurled racial insults at her. But she has returned after years of soul-searching and this year, she made it to the finals, but lost to Victoria Azarenka. During the press conference after her defeat, Serena was asked about a controversy that sprang up in Indian Wells over the weekend – apparently, the CEO of Indian Wells, a man named Raymond Moore, has some terrible thoughts about female tennis players. Moore said openly at a press conference:

“…You know, in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association], because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have. And now the mantle is being handed over to Djokovic and Murray and some others. You know, that’s good. We have no complaints. You know, we pay equal prize money. Do all those things. We don’t have any complaints.”

[Via the Desert Sun]

His comments were widely condemned almost as soon as he made them, and to be fair, he apologized right away. So, Serena was asked about his original statements and this is what she had to say:

“Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that. I think Venus [Williams], myself, a number of players have been—if I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister, I couldn’t even bring up that number. So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement…I think there is a lot of women out there who are more…are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.”

Williams was also asked if she thought his comments could have been taken out of context or misconstrued.

“Well, if you read the transcript, you can only interpret it one way. I speak very good English. I’m sure he does too,” she said. “You know, there’s only one way to interpret that. Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not—we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.”

[From E! News]

For the nitpickers out there (like me) who winced at “I speak very good English” and “I think there is a lot of women,” I think we should remember that she was speaking after she lost the final in 90-degree-plus heat, you know? She was tired. As for the substance of what she’s saying, ABSOLUTELY YES. The fact that this is what the Indian Wells CEO really believes, and he believes he’s free to say it out loud is offensive enough. But the imagery he used is really disgusting too. “We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.” Serena is forever the #GOAT.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty.

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35 Responses to “Serena Williams slams Indian Wells CEO after he made sexist remarks”

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  1. Pandy says:

    What an asshole. Seriously.

    • joan says:

      She put him in place nicely though.

      As a white woman who’s proudly part Native American, when I think of her history of racist abuse at Indian Wells it’s really amazing that she has the strength and the class to respond in such a civil manner.

      It would be tempting to scream obscenities.

      These guys just hate that she’s so strong and so good. I watch tennis only for HER. The men just aren’t as powerful or interesting. Neither are the women. SHE’s amazing.

  2. Pri says:

    Hollywood starlets, this is why you need to understand what feminism really is.

  3. Scal says:

    And this is why several players boycott the Indian Wells tournament.

    The CEO of Indian Wells is a turd. Always has been. First off-lady players? That’s insulting enough on it’s own. He’s also hadn’t apologized by the time of Serena’s finals press conference, so Serena’s “well I speak very good English” was shade at his expected apology of his comments being taken out of context. Like come on dude, we can all read. Nearly all the tennis media were there. We all know what you said and why you said it.

    This is the same guy who said in the same press conference:
    Q By attractive, you mean physically attractive or competitively attractive?
    Moore: No, no, no–I mean both. They are physically attractive and competitively attractive. They can assume the mantle of leadership once Serena decides to stop.
    I think they’ve got…they really have quite a few very very attractive players. (laughter)

  4. megs283 says:

    So…this guy still has a job…?

  5. Mia V. says:

    I’m not a tennis fan, I don’t watch, but I really like Serena Williams and how she behaves herself. You go, girl!

  6. Carol says:

    Jeez, when are the old rich men going to retire? From Trump to this little white haired dude, these well-to-do neanderthals need to just STFU. Thank god for all the women out there who refuse to let idiots like these stop them from reaching their professional goals.

  7. Bridget says:

    Wow. He deserves everything that’s coming to him for saying that.

  8. WTF says:

    What a complete a$$hat. And never mind that his statement is wholly inaccurate. Women’s tennis gets more viewership than men’s. So fold that three ways and shove it Troglodyte Moore.

    http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2015/09/us-open-ratings-espn-most-watched-four-years-serena-grand-slam-quest/

  9. Embee says:

    Whatever Raymond. The only way that Queen Serena is getting down on her knees is to look you in the eye you knuckle-dragging fossil.

  10. word says:

    Wow what a stupid thing to say on his part. Something I do hate about sports, in particular regarding female athletes, is that the better looking ones always end up making more money regardless of how good they are in their particular sport. If you’re a female and pretty, you can get paid millions in endorsements, even if you’re 10th and not 1st. I hate that. Men don’t have to deal with that.

  11. fee says:

    This guy is sexist,that is obvious. Serena quoted as saying people say we only come to see you or venus is also wrong. Djoko made some stupid comments earlier too about equal pay,women aren’t as popular so they should not get same pay,wtf? 1st, I think for grand slams,the women should play best of 5 as the men.

    • Naya says:

      Youtube the press conference. She said that Venus, herself and OTHERS have brought viewers to tennis. She also said that people have told her and Venus many times that they are the reason they started watching. Can confirm this as I personally had little interest in tennis before I heard about them. More than any other player ever, the Williams girls transformed tennis from that sport that rich white people followed to something accessible…. Djokovic can go sit his ass on an egg.

    • Colette says:

      Well I only watch if Venus or Serena is playing just like I only watched golf when Tiger was playing.Obviously I’m not an avid tennis fan.

    • feebee says:

      If the WTA demanded five setters for their players the tournament schedulers would crap their pants, the tv networks would use it as an excuse to show less women’s tennis and the ATP would probably have a bit of a fit too. Someone already had a cow at the men always going second in the night sessions despite the obvious reason for putting a shorter match on before the potentially longer one.

  12. crtb says:

    His comments were widely condemned almost as soon as he made them, and to be fair, he apologized right away.

    I don’t understand this comment. Why must we be fair to someone who would say such hurtful things. So what: he apologized. He only did so because he got backlash for what he said. I am so sick of people who say mean things then apologize when they get called out on it and that is suppose to make it all better.

  13. AlmondJoy says:

    JERK.

    He may have apologized right away but he clearly meant everything he said. He spoke very confidently.

  14. Colette says:

    When I heard the part about getting down on your knees I assumed he was talking about praying not performing a sex act.But anyway I read that at some tournaments like the U.S. Open the women’s matches sell out before the men’s matches.So obviously there is an interest in the women’s tennis.

  15. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    That was gross right from jump, UGH. I need Serena to annihalate everyone in this sport so that they’re forced to take their bitter asses and hand her trophy after trophy. Go girl!

  16. wolf says:

    seperate tournament for men and women will settle who will attract more crowds.

  17. wolf says:

    women should also play five sets.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      Or men can play three sets. Let’s see how they do when they can be knocked out of a tournament after playing only twelve games. Let’s see if they can fight for every point and find ways to come back after losing the first set – knowing that they must win the second set to stay alive.

  18. Tig says:

    The only observation that warrants any amount of time/discussion is three sets vs five. I disagree with the premise that women should be awarded less prize money bec their semis and finals are shorter in # of sets. Discussion re changing that is interesting.

    It is mind-blowing that this guy feels like his statements reflect well on his organization. These are the same type of tone-deaf statements that came from LPGA tour management a few years back in response to the rise of non-European/American players on tour. Thinking before speaking is clearly a dying art form!

  19. lisa says:

    i will only watch mens tennis. however, these comments are jerktastic.