Point of View

Unpacking the moment a total stranger licked and kissed me on live TV

I report the news every day, but this week I inadvertently became the news. In a bizarre and humiliating situation, a total stranger licked, kissed and nibbled on my earlobe, neck and shoulder while I was live on television.

My story of the cringe-worthy TV moment that sparked a police probe

CBC reporter Chris Glover shares his thinking about the on-camera harassment he faced on the job and why he took it to police. (John Rieti/CBC)
I report the news every day, but this week I inadvertently became the news. In a bizarre and humiliating situation, a total stranger licked, kissed and nibbled on my earlobe, neck and shoulder while I was live on television.

In the now-viral video of the altercation at Toronto's Comedy Bar Tuesday night, you see me at my most uncomfortable. I smiled and tried to soldier on with an awkward laugh. Make no mistake, though: I was not having any fun and didn't invite this touching.

Was I harassed? Was I assaulted? Was it sexual assault? These are all questions people have been asking — myself included.

At first, I was unsure whether I wanted to involve police. I wasn't physically injured; I just felt mortified and embarrassed. I don't know what crime label might ultimately be placed on this, if any at all. But I decided to go to police because I know this shouldn't happen to anyone else.

People online have applauded my professionalism and calm reaction. Many have said they may have taken a different, decidedly more violent approach if they were in my place.

You can't really know how you would react, or understand what it's like, until you're faced with it. It's difficult to express the confusion and awkwardness of knowing a live camera is rolling and not wanting to overreact to a scenario you're still trying to piece together as it's unfolding around you.

I love my job because I love meeting new people in the community and hearing their stories. But occasionally, when doing live hits on location, people will get too close for comfort.

I'm trained to do my best to roll with it, but it can be a vulnerable experience. I put my trust in the people around me, and in this case that trust was violated.

WARNING: This video contains graphic images some viewers may find disturbing. 1:01

Why didn't anyone stop it? 

Some people have remarked that someone should have stepped in. They've asked why the camera guy kept filming or why the control room didn't cut away. Despite excellent training and preparation for hostile environments, it's human nature to be stunned in unexpected and uncomfortable situations. I don't fault them.

I've heard from many people who were uncomfortable watching the video. I, too, have a visceral reaction when watching it. But it's important for people to see.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a journalist has been harassed on the job, and far too often it's my female colleagues who are targeted.

Glover files live reports in the field nightly on CBC Toronto News at Six but has never faced this sort of incident before. (CBC)

We deserve to be treated with respect while doing our job, just like transit operators, retail workers, nurses, politicians and all other professions who are routinely the targets of harassment on the job.

I want to acknowledge the support and kind messages I've received over the past two days from outraged social media users and fellow journalists, but also from concerned comedians.

I'm glad the man who attacked me apologized and took responsibility for his actions. I heard the shame in his voice when he spoke to CBC Toronto.

I hope this embarrassment serves as a lesson to others to think before they act. I know I was at a comedy event, and he thought at the time it was a joke, but nothing about this is funny.

About the Author

Chris Glover

CBC News Reporter

Chris spent half a decade as a political reporter for CBC Winnipeg, but now that he's returned to his hometown of Toronto, he's excitedly sinking his teeth in all sorts of stories. Discovering new neighbourhoods isn't a 9 to 5 job and after years away, he has a lot to catch up on. When he's not running around the city with a camera, you can find him on the island soaking up the sun or riding the trails along the Don River.