The mayor of the Japanese city Nagoya has apologized for ignoring COVID-19 protocols and chomping down on an Olympic gold medal at an event meant to celebrate its winner, Japanese softball pitcher Miu Goto.
“I forgot my position as Nagoya mayor and acted in an extremely inappropriate way,” Mayor Takashi Kawamura said in a statement. “I am fully aware that I should reflect on that.”
During the celebration of Goto’s gold medal, Kawamura pulled down his mask and put the medal between his teeth to pose for pictures. He pulled the stunt while standing in front of a backdrop used for press briefings that urge people to wash their hands and socially distance to prevent COVID-19 infections.
His shenanigans became instantly infamous on social media. Trending posts on Twitter said Kawamura had turned Goto’s gold medal into a germ medal, which in Japanese is pronounced the same. Some called for Goto to get a replacement for the medal she won at the Tokyo 2020 Games playing for Japan.