Russian racing driver Nikita Dmitryevich Mazepin posted an explicit video of grabbing a woman's breast inside a moving car on his Instagram account. Even though the abhorrent video was deleted from the stories within minutes, it went viral on social media platforms before being deleted.
Son of billionaire businessman Dmitry Mazepin, the 21-year-old racer was recently announced as an F1 driver for 2021. He will race alongside Formula Two champion Mick Schumacher at Haas next year.
Mazepin Issues Apology for the Disturbing Video
In the video, Mazepin, who is recording the clip, is sitting on the co-driver seat as an unidentified male drives the car. The camera then pans towards a female sitting on the backseat. Mazepin then moves his hand towards the female and puts it inside the top, grabbing her left breast.
The woman, who is seen resisting Mazepin's sexual move by trying to shove his hand away, shows her middle finger to the camera before putting it in her mouth. The video ends there. The woman in the video has identified herself as Andrea D'lVal, a model.
After facing public backlash Mazepin issued a public statement saying that he was sorry for the offense and causing embarrassment to Hass F1 team. "I would like to apologize for my recent actions, both in terms of my own inappropriate behavior, and the fact that it was posted on to social media. I have to hold myself to a higher standard as a Formula One driver and I acknowledge I have let myself and many people down. I promise I will learn from this," Daily Mail quoted the statement.
Woman Denies Being Assaulted, Calls Mazepin a Good Friend
Quite contrary to the furor created on social media, D'lVal dismissed the notion of being abused by the racer. In a statement issued on her Instagram account, the model wrote that the 'video was a joke' and she was good friends with Mazepin.
"Hi guys, I just want to let you know Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and nothing from that video was serious at all! We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us," said the model adding that it was she who posted the video on Mazepin's story.
Social Media Lashes Out at Mazepin
Even as D'lVal tried to downplay the incident there was a severe backlash on social media. "Nikita Mazepin allegedly groped a woman without consent. Followed by (in order) an unconvincing claim by the woman that it was a joke, Haas denouncing the whole thing, and Nikita apologizing only for the video appearing on the internet in a "my lawyers advised this message' way," wrote a user.
"Nikita Mazepin's behavior has been less than stellar both on and off the track. The video that was posted yesterday was disgusting and shows that he shouldn't have a place in F1 next year. I'm sure it is going to be costly, but Haas needs to do the right thing and let him go," tweeted another user.
"In addition to apologising to your employer, should you not, more importantly, apologize to the lady in the video? Or is the violation of her privacy not worthy of even a line?" opined another.