In a newly resurfaced video of Sofia Vergara appearing as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2010, Vergara, appears visibly uncomfortable and annoyed at various times during the interview. Vergara’s discomfort is particularly easy to see now in 2018, as a result of increased awareness created by the #MeToo movement, and the ouster of men in powerful positions for sexual misconduct: Matt Lauer (NBC), Charlie Rose (CBS), Harvey Weintsein (The Weinstein Company), Russell Simmons (Def Jam Recordings), and Kevin Spacey (Netflix) to name a few. In light of increased cultural awareness about sexual harassment and consent, people seem to be viewing the Vergara clip with a fresh set of eyes.
During the ten or so minute video, at least 14 sexually-charged comments are made about Vergara’s body and appearance.
CREDIT: sofiavergara / Instagram
In the 2010 video, Vergara is seated next to Hell’s Kitchen star, Gordon Ramsay, Vergara and subject to six-minutes of male harassment, much of it sexual, coming from both Ramsay and host of the show, Jay Leno. The flagrant sexual innuendos and harassment began soon after Vergara takes her seat in a chair near Leno’s desk. Sitting between Ramsay and Leno, Vergara apologizes to the two men for screaming at them in a comedy bit filmed in advance of the sit-down. She says, “I’m sorry. I never scream like that in real life.” Ramsay cuts in and says “Only in the bedroom.” Vergara lowers her eyes and looks down at her lap as if put off.
Soon after the interview begins Leno asks Vergara about a recent vacation to Italy, and she discusses the food she ate. Photos of the trip flash on the screen, photos that she provided to the show, including one of herself wearing a white bikini. While discussing a photo of the star eating a large piece of pizza, Ramsay says, “You just pick it up and stick it in your mouth?” While they all laugh at his comment, Ramsay’s face turns bright red, appearing to have embarrassed himself with the remark. He seems to recover from his embarrassment by insulting the Colombian dulce de leche ice cream that Vergara brought for Leno to try during the segment. About the ice cream, Ramsay presumably says, “You can take it back to fucking Colombia.” The expletive is, of course, bleeped out.
At one point in the video, Vergara slaps Ramsay’s hand away after he touches her on the hip. This after he’s touched her twice already. To further make her point she yells “No touching” at him.
Many who watched the segment on YouTube, commented on Ramsay’s behavior, accusing him of being juvenile and gross.
After watching the clip, one fan of Gordon Ramsay changed their opinion about him altogether.
Many also commented on Vergara’s body language and apparent discomfort.
Vergara who once said that she didn’t understand why women are offended by being objectified by men, did appear uncomfortable with the comments made about her body.
Still, when groped by Gordon Ramsay, she makes a comment about him in Spanish, “Este no respeta,” or “he has no respect.” For his part, Ramsay, who leaps about, moves forward and back in his chair, spreads his legs wide at one point, and puts his hands over his crotch, appears to grow more and more emboldened as the segment goes on. The #MeToo movement which has caused many to re-evaluate behavior that once seemed acceptable, has, fortunately, given all women a chance to be vocal about how they want their bodies treated and that it is also showing people that they will be held accountable when they cross lines.
Whether Vergara, who has been typecast as the spicy-Latina, cares or claims not to care about being objectified shouldn’t affect how men treat her and her body. While her previous comments have certainly raised eyebrows amongst feminists, they do not grant men like Ramsay say in how her body should be treated let alone mean that she should be groped or harassed. It remains to be seen whether Vergara will embrace the movement, but not doing so, doesn’t give anyone license to grope or harass her in the manner she was on “The Tonight Show.”