At least 11 CBC Manitoba reporters targeted by FHRITP heckling

At least 11 CBC Manitoba staff have been targeted by the same type of vulgar heckling that got an Ontario man fired from his job this week.

Hydro One employee fired after CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt suffered FHRITP taunt on air

CBC's Jillian Coubrough on FHRITP heckling in Manitoba.

7 years ago
Duration 2:08
CBC Manitoba staff and women in Winnipeg weigh in on the kind of vulgar heckling that got an Ontario man fired from his job this week.

At least 11 CBC Manitoba staff have been targeted by the same type of vulgar heckling that got an Ontario man fired from his job this week.

Female reporters are increasingly being targeted on air by strangers yelling "f--k her right in the p---y" and other obscenities.

This week, a Hydro One engineer was with a group of men who made the crude remarks at CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt during an on-air interview at a Toronto FC game. Days later, he lost his job.
Jodie Layne of Safer Spaces Winnipeg, a group that fights harassment, says she's pleased to hear that there are consequences to being part of a so-called trend of heckling female reporters on air by yelling "F--k her right in the p---y." (CBC)

Now, more journalists across Canada are coming forward about being targeted by men hurling the obscenity at them.

Sara Calnek is one of CBC Manitoba's videographers. She was subjected to the abuse while interviewing people at Siloam Mission last month about two high-profile homicides.

"While we were interviewing them, a truckload of guys drove by and yelled it in behind our interview," said Calnek. "We just all stopped and didn't know what to say. It's like we lost our breath. It was so degrading and insensitive."

Videographer Holly Caruk has had a similar experience multiple times.

In one case, she was interviewing a dad with two small children at The Forks. In another, she was interviewing students who had organized a fundraiser at a high school.

"It was completely embarrassing. Everybody laughed … it felt embarrassing and off-putting," she said. "This was something that felt very targeted to me as a woman and very threatening."

'Men remind women that they're not in control'

"It's representative of a larger thing that happens, and it's a way that men remind women that they're not in control and that they can be, you know, sort of humiliated and made to feel ashamed about being a woman anytime," said Jodie Layne of Safer Spaces Winnipeg.

She said she's pleased to hear there are consequences to being part of a trend.

"This guy losing his job is his own thing. I think Hydro One looked at the decision and said, like, 'Is this the public face of our company that we want? Is this somebody who we want interacting with our female employees and female customers?' I would say definitely not," Layne said.

Not only did one of the hecklers lose his job, the men who uttered similar comments and were with him face a one-year ban from all games of not just the soccer club, but of other teams owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which include the Maple Leafs and Raptors.
CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronts Toronto FC fans who obstinately defend another man who yelled a popular vulgar phrase during an on-air interview. (CityNews)

"I think to me what speaks really loudly is the Toronto FC trying to ban them because, as this woman said, she's a sports reporter. She faces this day to day at her job, and I think that it's just one example of how women feel really unsafe in sporting environments often," said Layne.

"So by taking a stand saying, like, 'We're not going to stand for this.' This is a very small way of encouraging women to feel safer in that space, I think, in a place that they might often not."

Winnipegger Jenna Saltesz said she's happy the consequences were quick and severe for the Ontario hecklers caught on tape.

"I think it is a great precedent to set, and maybe it will stop kids from thinking it's funny and cool to do something like that," she said.

Winnipegger Dave Carpenter said he's shocked the man in the video would do something like that in public.

"Right now, his career is ruined. He's done. For him, now, just try to imagine getting another job after all the exposure he has had for some stupid comment that probably shouldn't have even been made in the first place," said Carpenter.

And consequences could extend beyond losing your job and being banned from a sports venue. Police in several Canadian cities have said yelling the obscenities could lead to charges.

MTS Centre wouldn't ban fans for life if they heckle reporters

For now, doing it won't get you a life-time ban from Winnipeg's MTS Centre.

Officials with True North and Sports Entertainment said they try to provide a secure environment at the MTS Centre for reporters when they can, but often filming occurs outside of event hours.

Scott Brown, a spokesperson for the company, said True North bans about five or six people per year for "a number of reasons involving egregious behaviour from treatment of fellow patrons to treatment of security staff."

Brown said the company doesn't ban people for life, and the maximum ban is five years.

With files from The Canadian Press


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