It used to be a person would stand behind a Reporter during their live shot, wave and yell, "Hi Mom!" It was annoying, but that's all it was.
Now, the idiots scream out the phrase, "Fuck her right in the pussy," which often is followed by the Reporter throwing it back to the studio, before more profanity gets on air.
Well, many Reporters at Canadian stations are sick of these idiots and they are looking into doing something about it.
After being targeted themselves and realizing this was a growing trend, two local CBC reporters, Tanya Birkbeck and Morgan Dunlop, decided to write about their experience on the CBC news website.
” … I felt shocked and violated by those words,” Birkbeck wrote. “It felt personal. Not just a catchphrase, but more of a taunt suggesting that the men around me, instead of talking to me, should be, you know, raping me.”
At last weekend’s St. Patrick’s parade, Birkbeck was again harassed by several men yelling the phrase into her microphone during her live report. She and her female anchor discussed the issue briefly on air, calling it “an unfortunate part of being a journalist on the street going live here” and continued with the report.
Helen Evans, managing editor for CBC-Montreal, said she is proud of the professional way CBC reporters have handled the harassment, and particularly of Birkbeck and Dunlop for speaking out.
She said she sought legal advice from CBC lawyers to find out if the company could take any legal action against the harassers.
“I just got off the phone with our lawyer who talked to the police and apparently, they said there has been no crime (committed),” Evans told the Montreal Gazette.
But Pearl Eliadis, a Montreal lawyer specializing in human rights, said she sees three avenues that would be interesting to pursue.
Section 319 of the Criminal Code says it is a crime to “communicate statements in any public place that incite hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.”
Secondly, the Quebec Charter on Human Rights and Freedoms has provisions dealing with sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, and unlike in other Canadian provinces, the harassment or discrimination does not have to occur in a specific area of service (such as the workplace) to be actionable.
Thirdly, if offending individuals can be identified, the reporters could go to police to seek restraining orders against them under Criminal Code provisions on harassment.
“The hate speech (avenue) would be particularly difficult because you are dealing with a very big burden of proof and police might see this as a prank,” Eliadis said. “But I’ve seen cases move the law forward. Part of the challenge women and other targeted groups face in hateful situations is that those who are not targeted usually see it as not serious, that we have to let people speak … but when one is targeted, one tends to see it differently. … My feeling is that women shouldn’t be subjected to this and law enforcement and the legal community need to be sensitive to it.
Carrie Rentschler, director of the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, said the FHRITP phenomenon should not be dismissed as harmless.
Julius Grey, also a human rights lawyer, takes a different view.
“There are no rules in our society enforcing good taste. However, I do think most people should show some,” he said. “I don’t think there should be legal prohibition on speech. People are allowed to be vulgar. There should be education.”
It is likely that the FHRITP idiots will grow tired on the prank and move on. But, these Reporters are hoping their actions will help speed up that process.
H/T Montreal Gazette