Analysis

Snoop Dogg's sexist comments about camerawoman 'creepy and awkward'

Why do some personalities who appear in the media get a free pass on misogyny? The CBC Nova Scotia bureau was forced to examine that question after a recent interview with the American rapper Snoop Dogg.

'Just because I expect it doesn't mean I have to accept it,' says CBC camera operator called 'thick' by rapper

During a CBC interview Snoop Dogg turned his attention to the female camera operator. 0:37

It's uncomfortable to watch.

During a TV interview a man stops to comment on how "thick" he finds the CBC camera operator.

"I like your camera girl, too. She's thick. Damn."

(For those unfamiliar with the world of Urban Dictionary, thick translates to "nice ass, nice legs." A girl who has "meat on her bones in all the right places."

"I wasn't even looking down. Now I'm forced to look down at the camera," he continues. "Look at the shit on that critter."

His entourage, mainly men, erupt in laughter.

Trying to brush it off, the reporter — also female — tries to continue with the interview.

If it was a politician using that language people would be demanding an apology faster than you can say Gloria Steinem three times fast.

It was Snoop Dogg.

Do you feel different about it?

Free pass

"It was creepy and awkward but I just laughed it off. Then later on I realized, why does he get a free pass because he's a rapper?" said the CBC's Stephanie Clattenburg, the woman behind the camera.

Reporter Elizabeth McMillan said: "It was uncomfortable. In retrospect I wish I handled it differently. But it felt like a no-win situation. So I just gritted my teeth and tried to get through."

McMillan interviewed the rapper in Truro. Snoop was in town, filming episodes for the Trailer Park Boys's 10th season. The show has also booked special guest appearances from actor Tom Arnold, comic Doug Benson and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

During a TV interview Snoop Dogg stops to comment on how “thick” he finds the CBC camera operator. (CBC)

When the video was brought up, some people in this newsroom weren't bothered by it:

It's different, they said.

He's a rapper. It's expected.

"I think the stance that some people take about things like this just being a joke have to realize that it's OK to joke and it's OK to compliment women but you can do those things in a way that's not belittling," said Clattenburg.

If you watch the Snoop Dogg video, you'll see a power dynamic at play. A male celebrity, surrounded by his crew, making the two women blush, laughing at their embarrassment.

Clattenburg and McMillan didn't say anything, they just wanted to do their jobs.

Because that's what women are trained to do.

Blush. Shrug it off. Carry on. Repeat.

Double standards

One of the best parts of being in this business is the chance to talk to different people every day. We cover the legislature, tragedies, royal births and even rap stars filming in small town Nova Scotia.

CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt was confronted by soccer fans in Toronto who shouted a vulgar trend at her on camera. (CityNews)

How is it that some people tolerate misogyny from one group, but not another?

We watched a national furor break out when soccer fans yelled "F--k her right in the p---y" at a CityNews reporter. She fought back, opening the door for more reporters to share their stories.

Almost every female reporter in the CBC Halifax bureau has had that sentence hurled at them.

Certain sources shouldn't get a free pass.

As Clattenburg said: "Just because I expect it doesn't mean I have to accept it."

About the Author

Catharine Tunney

Reporter

Catharine Tunney is a reporter with the CBC's Parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. She previously worked with CBC Radio's The House and CBC Nova Scotia. She can be reached at catharine.tunney@cbc.ca

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