Spain launches hate crime inquiry over dorm sex threat video

A man is seen shouting from a window towards a female-only dorm, in a video that went viral. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID - Spanish prosecutors on Friday launched a hate crime investigation into male students whose choreographed misogynist outburst from their dormitory towards a neighbouring all-girls residence outraged the nation.

A video from last weekend's incident went viral on social media, though it was later downplayed by some female residents.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters in Prague that the footage demonstrated "inexplicable, unjustified and absolutely repugnant behaviour" that could not be tolerated.

The Madrid regional prosecutor's office said it has asked police for information after a Spanish NGO, Movement Against Intolerance, launched a formal complaint against residents of Madrid's Elias Ahuja student dorm for a suspected hate crime.

In the video, a man is seen shouting from a window at the nearby Santa Monica female-only dorm: "Whores, come out of your holes like rabbits, you are f***ing nymphomaniacs."

After he also threatens to make them submit at an upcoming party, scores of fellow residents flick on lights and bang on shutters, making intimidating animal-like grunts.

Spain's largest student union announced a protest for Monday on the main campus of the Complutense University of Madrid, to which both dorms are affiliated, and demanded the expulsion of all involved in the "disgusting and sexist" footage.

'Easy to misinterpret'

In their letter online, some Santa Monica residents supported their male neighbours and accepted apologies.

"A viral video is easy to misinterpret without understanding its context," they said.

"An impression of hatred and machismo has been created, which could not be further from the truth."

Despite the language in the video being "inadequate and disrespectful", it represented a "traditional practice" at student residences with no intention of spreading misogynist speech or denigrating women, it added.

In interviews, students of both genders broadly shared that view, though one Elias Ahuja resident, Juan Melo, was more contrite.

"Like the rest of my colleagues, the ones that took part and those like me that didn't, we are ashamed and sad because those insults are intolerable," he said. REUTERS

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