As It Happens

CBC reporter Chris Glover felt 'humiliated' after being licked during live TV hit

CBC Toronto reporter Chris Glover says he was left feeling unsafe and uncomfortable after a comedian licked his neck during a live TV report.

'There is no excuse for my behaviour last night,' says Canadian actor Boyd Banks

A screen shot from the video shows the moment in CBC's Chris Glover live television report at a downtown Toronto comedy bar when he was kissed and licked by a man. (CBC)
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It's the kind of stand-up reporting CBC News' Chris Glover does every day. 

On Tuesday night, Glover was at Toronto's Comedy Bar to speak to comedians about the controversial merger between Sirius XM's Canada Laughs radio station and Montreal's Just For Laughs. 

But once the camera started rolling, and Glover started his live hit, Saskatchewan-born actor Boyd Banks approached him from behind and started to lick his ear and kiss his neck.

"There is no excuse for my behaviour last night. I'm guilty of everything," Banks told As It Happens in a telephone call Wednesday evening.

"I am an idiot, and there's something wrong with me. I'm not making excuses. I want to apologize to the stand-up community in Canada and, of course, the reporter who was doing his job."

As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner spoke to Glover about the incident. Here is part of their conversation.

Chris, what was going through your mind as you were doing that live report last night?

So much confusion and I just felt overwhelmingly uncomfortable in that moment.

It's tough for me to listen to. I've tried not to watch it or play it back too many times. I think you could hear it in my voice — just, I wanted out.

Sometimes that does happen as a journalist doing a live hit. You'll feel somebody is a little bit too close for comfort.

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

You could sense the presence — is that what you mean?

I could sense his presence behind me. I could also smell alcohol on his breath and I could smell his breath, which was disconcerting because it meant he was so close to me. And so that immediately made me feel a little bit uncomfortable.

I could feel something on the back of my neck and on the back of my head. I didn't really know what that was at first. I've since been able to watch the video and see from the audience's perspective it was much clearer. He was licking the back of my neck.

So, there was actual physical contact?

Yeah. And then not just on the back of my neck and head. But then he moved around to the left side of me and he started to nibble, lick, kiss my ear and my neck, from the side.

I was just thinking I need to get out of this moment. And that was when you heard me say, "I just feel like this is getting a little awkward. We'll send it back to you, Dwight." 

Glover said he filed a police report on Wednesday and believes it's the best way to move forward. (Grant Linton/CBC)

And then what happened?

So after the hit was done, immediately, I looked around to find out who was this? What had just happened? 

I'm still in a state of confusion, shock, and I'm looking to see, am I safe?

My camera guy and I tried to find this guy with our eyes, just looking to see if he's still in our proximity. We didn't see him. So we finished up our work. We just headed for the exit and got into the car at that point.

Has anything like this ever happened to you before?

I've had things yelled at me while I was on air. I've had people touch me. I had somebody hit me from behind one time, seemingly accidental. But nothing like this has ever happened.

I think in his mind, he was trying to be funny. That's the only thing that I can assume. But I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed and I felt I just wanted it to stop.

In my 10 years of doing live hits on television, I've never had anything like that happen before.

Actor and comedian Boyd Banks, right, apologized in a phone call with CBC Radio's As It Happens. (CBC)

CBC is identifying this man as Boyd Banks, a Canadian comedian. Had you heard of this man before?

I had not, no. 

Are you going to press charges?

I did report the incident to police.

And you hadn't been speaking to him earlier in the night?

No, not at all.

We've covered other news stories about reporters being harassed on the job. Many, of course, were women who had sexual profanities yelled at them. Why do you think this is so common?

I think that it's a shame that it is so common. I think that it is a problem in our society that a lot of us are paying attention to.

I can only speak for myself, and what I experienced last night was deeply concerning. I've had so many people reach out to me across the country about this — several comedians apologizing on behalf of this individual saying that they hope it doesn't reflect poorly on all of them.

And I think at the end of the day, I'm a journalist just trying to do a job and share this story, and it is getting sadly side-barred by this circus.

You talk about the reaction and the support pouring in, now that you've had time to process what happened, how are you doing?

I'm good. It's unsettling to be sure. But I have great support both in my home life and in my work life. And I'm feeling very supported by the people who are around me, which is the most important thing. 

Written by Sarah Jackson and John McGill with files from CBC News. Produced by Sarah Jackson. Q&A has been edited by length and clarity.