It was supposed to be a bit of light fun during sporting events.
But students at Syracuse University have begun a campaign to stop the popular kiss cam, comparing it to sexual assault.
Now the University is considering kissing the kiss cam goodbye forever, and other universities and professional sports teams are watching closely.
Steve Port of Manlius, NY said what he saw during the Sept. 12 football game between Syracuse University and Wake Forest constituted unacceptable behavior, and maybe even assault.
In one of two examples, he said a woman’s head shake was met with pressure as the crowd cheered and encouraged her.
In response, the kiss cam feature was pulled from Saturday’s game against Central Michigan University, Sue Edson, a Syracuse University athletics spokeswoman, said.
“We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor,” she said.
Syracuse University senior Elaina Crockett suggested the university poll students on whether to keep the feature or come up with some kiss cam rules, including moving on quickly if someone obviously doesn’t want to play along.
Crockett, who writes a column about gender and sexuality for The Daily Orange student newspaper, said that encouraging a kiss is otherwise counter to today’s emphasis on consent that stresses communication and respect for boundaries.
“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 said by phone.
The university isn’t the only venue rethinking its kiss cam. The New York Mets last week apologized and said they would stop showing two opposing players inside the heart as a joke after some fans complained it was offensive to gay people.
A regular feature at sports venues, the kiss cam frames unsuspecting couples in a heart on the Jumbotron while the game crowd cheers for them to kiss. Hearts melted when cancer-stricken former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn obliged during an Atlanta Braves game last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this story