Nova Scotia·Point of View

FHRITP heckling is happening in Halifax and reporters say it has to stop

Turn on the local news tonight and there's a good chance the female reporters you see on TV have had sexually explicit taunts hurled at them while in the field.

WARNING: Story contains explicit language

CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronts Shawn Simoes, who defended another man who yelled a vulgar phrase during an on-air interview at the Toronto FC home opener on Sunday. (CityNews)

Turn on the local news tonight and there's a good chance the female reporters you see on TV have had sexually explicit taunts hurled at them while in the field.

The practice of yelling the phrase "f--k her right in the p---y" — known by the acronym FHRITP — started last year after it was featured in a fake newscast blooper that went viral on Reddit, an online forum.

It comes from a fake report, but it's a reality for female reporters.

A video of CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt confronting and questioning the men who shouted the phrase into her microphone at a Toronto FC has gone viral this week.

The men in the video defend the trend, calling it "hilarious." When asked how their mothers would respond, one man is heard saying that she would have found it funny eventually.

It ended up costing one of the men in the video his job.

Halifax Regional Police say the trend was only brought to their attention in the past few days. Insp. Don Mosher calls it "sexualized violence."

"What people have to understand is that there could be potentially serious consequences and those could be criminal consequences," he said. 

Female reporters from different networks in Halifax are all too familiar with the trend. 

Here are their stories:

Yvonne Colbert, CBC News

Yvonne Colbert says the first time she heard FHRITP in the field, she was shocked. (Robert Short/CBC)

"Reporters deal with all kinds of situations when working in the public, but, still, the first time this happened to me I was shocked.

At that point, I was not aware of this trend. I was interviewing Halifax Water spokesman James Campbell near a high school. I saw a group of teenage boys walking down the sidewalk out of the corner of my eye, but thought nothing of it.

Then, one jumped right in front of the camera and yelled "f--k her right in the p---y," then ran away.

We were both taken aback but after a short discussion, resumed the interview.

Since then, it has happened to me several times, but thankfully never while live on the air.

I never felt threatened in any way by the people yelling it but I continue to wonder why someone would think it is funny or even say those words. Now, when I'm out reporting — especially when live — I am always cognizant of the possibility of someone yelling it."

Alyse Hand, CTV News

Alyse Hand is a weather presenter and co-host at CTV Atlantic. (CBC)

"This happened about six months ago. I had a camera on me, I was getting prepared to go on camera and someone came up behind me and said that comment to me. It completely surprised me. It was shocking. It was appalling. It's disgusting.

The fact that we're talking about this right now is really sad. It's really surprising to me that this is still happening in this day and age.

I think talking about it in one way gives attention to these people — which you don't want — but you also want people to know this can't happen, that it's not appropriate. I think it's important that people realize that it's not something that's funny. It can really impact someone. 

I don't think we should let anyone have power over our stories and telling our stories."

Carolyn Ray, CBC News

Carolyn Ray, a videojournalist at CBC News, says it's ridiculous that women reporters need extra security to cover a sports event. (CBC)

"The first time, I was about to do a live hit. I could hear the countdown in my ear that I was going on air in about five seconds. Right behind me was a lot of traffic and someone leaned out of their car and shouted that phrase as loud as you could possibly imagine just as I was saying my first words on air.

It was extremely distracting. I don't really remember everything I said in that hit, which is scary because we have to focus on what we're talking about we're trying to get messages out about certain stories.

When we're out in the field, when we're on air, that's our workplace and we need to take it seriously.

If we're distracted or if people are hearing that in the background, that takes away from all the work we've done that day and it's also very disrespectful to the audience.

In this day and age, why should women reporters need extra security just to cover a sports event? This is ridiculous. 

Every single woman I know who is a reporter has had this harassment."

Anjuli Patil, CBC News

As a videojournalist, Anjuli Patil says people have yelled FHRITP when she's out alone. (Submitted by Anjuli Patil)

"This happens to me at least once a week.

I'm not sure what it is with these guys. The worst times are when you're interviewing someone and someone interrupts your interview. They have no idea who you're interviewing and what the topic could be.

A friend who works at another network told me about a time they were interviewing the mother of a sexual assault victim when someone screamed "f--k her right in the p---y" at them.

I was happy to see Shauna Hunt call those guys out this weekend."

James Campbell, Halifax Water spokesperson

James Campbell, a spokesman for Halifax Water, is often on the other side of the camera and has witnessed obscenities being hurled at reporters. (CBC)

James Campbell, who is a spokesperson for the water utility, is often in front of the camera and within earshot when people shout obscenities. He first heard the phrase while talking to Yvonne Colbert:

"A couple of young gentlemen — I use that term loosely — came in behind us and spouted off a pretty vulgar phrase.

We were flabbergasted. We stopped and looked at the kid and the kid giggled at us and kept on walking. We were both angry.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs. I remember thinking, 'I wonder if their parents know.'"


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