Halifax TV reporter interrupted on-air by crude remark, gesture

Police say they are investigating after a TV journalist was heckled with a misogynistic taunt while reporting live from a Halifax bar.

CTV reporter heckled live on-air; 2 CBC Nova Scotia reporters have faced similar behaviour in recent weeks

Heather Butts was doing a live hit from Pint Public House in Halifax where fans were watching a world junior hockey championship game when the incident occurred. (HeatherButtsTV/Facebook)

Police say they are investigating after a TV journalist was heckled with a misogynistic taunt while reporting live from a Halifax bar.

CTV Atlantic reporter Heather Butts told her Twitter followers she was fine on Friday after what she described as an offensive phrase was hurled at her during the station's 6 p.m. broadcast.

Butts was doing a live hit from Pint Public House in Halifax where fans were watching a world junior hockey championship game when the incident occurred.

A recording shows a man who approaches Butts and appears to make a crude gesture while calling out a sexually explicit phrase.

Butts turned around and continued with her report, later acknowledging the on-air incident in a tweet, saying she "will be pursuing this further."

Staff Sgt. Greg Mason of Halifax Regional Police said officers have followed up on a complaint regarding the broadcast and are waiting to hear if the complainant wants to proceed with the investigation.

Officers have been working to identify the man who interrupted Butts' report, said Mason, adding he could face a mischief charge.

Journalists show support

Several journalists have expressed support for Butts, saying the incident represents a broader problem of harassment of female broadcast reporters and videographers, sometimes involving a graphic phrase.

"Congratulations on intimidating a professional and embarrassing your family and yourself," CTV News host Jayson Clay Baxter tweeted about the man involved. 

Two CBC reporters in Halifax have faced similar behaviour in recent weeks. One of those incidents was reported to police.

CBC reporter Marina von Stackelberg said a few weeks ago, in the middle of an interview in Dartmouth, a heckler shouted an obscenity from his car and drove away.

"I think it completely throws you off, and you do your best to just kind of refocus and do your job the way you're trying to do your job," von Stackelberg said in an interview on Saturday.

"When I got back into the car to drive home, I was angry and frustrated and flustered, because it's hard not to be bothered by something like that."

She said it was the second time she had been hit with the sexist slur, and it's an experience that's become all too common for female broadcast journalists.

Charges laid elsewhere in Canada

In November, an American man was charged with causing a disturbance after yelling a vulgar phrase at CHCH reporter Britt Dixon while she was interviewing a Hamilton police officer.

Dixon said it was the third time that had happened to her over the course of four days.

CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt turned the tables on men who taunted her at a Toronto FC soccer game. (CityNews)

In August, police charged a Newfoundland man with causing a disturbance after he yelled the phrase at a reporter. Police laid a mischief charge against another Newfoundland man who yelled the same thing toward a journalist in April.

A Toronto FC soccer fan shouted the phrase during an interview with CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt in 2015.

Another man laughed, dismissing the comment as a joke, and was fired by Hydro One after the station aired the video. He was later rehired as part of an arbitration process, Hydro One said at the time.

With files from CBC News