Opinion: ‘Sick New Trend of trying to Humiliate Female TV Reporters’

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The practice of walking up to female TV journalists and shouting profane words is a new form of violence against women.

  • CBC's Morgan Dunlop was the victim of passersby's vulgar joke.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

                                    CBC’s Morgan Dunlop was the victim of passersby’s vulgar joke.

By: Columnist, Toronto Star  Nov 14 2014
.When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I think about female TV reporters doing stand-up reports on the street and I am bloody grateful I work indoors, frankly.

Thanks to “FHRITP,” which is code for a horrible insult, some men have been walking up to female TV reporters on the street as they talk to the camera and shouting something aloud they hope will go out live to the TV audience, which it occasionally does. The words are “f— her right in the p—-!” The men cackle with delight, the reporters are humiliated, their interviewees are embarrassed and, somewhere in a distant clean polite world, a toilet can be heard flushing.

I only know about this because two female CBC Montreal TV journalists, Tanya Birkbeck and Morgan Dunlop, wrote on CBC.ca about enduring this repeatedly in the course of a workday. Another, Catharine Tunney in Halifax, told me it happened to her and she has since heard from three more women and one man, all at the CBC. I worry that writing about it will spatter the emotional blood even more, but post-Ghomeshi, I am going to anyway.

Here’s how FHRITP began: an elderly American man calling himself John Cain — you can see him online if you so wish, a hairy guy with a southern accent and a black hoodie standing on a gravel road beside a rusted barrel — invented the acronym and in January uploaded fake news reports in which he shouted this to women, with a fake link to a female news anchor reacting with shock. It spread on YouTube and is now a Thing. It has egged on awful men, like offering a whiff of a murder victim’s sweater to hounds and they leap out into the darkness looking for the corpse.

True, it’s a tiny group of no-hopers, but an equally tiny group of women have jobs in TV news. Reporters used to head out with a crew, but as ad revenue and news budgets shrink, they often work alone as videographers standing beside a camera with a branded microphone that announces their job for mainstream news. They are then bitten by beasts, on the air.

It happened three times in one day to Birkbeck. You can watch the assaults online. Birkbeck was outside Montreal’s football stadium interviewing two male Alouettes fans, who laughed riotously as another man popped on camera and assaulted her with these words. Then, as she was interviewing a fan with his very young son, it happened again, a man cackling and running off. “Welcome to Montreal,” the kind father said to Birkbeck, shocked and trying to cover the boy’s ears. The boy, whose face has since been pixelated, looked puzzled. What did he learn that day?

“I was too taken aback to respond,” Birkbeck wrote, which is how women often react when assaulted. The brain and body go on high alert, muffling action. The second time, she began to wonder if her appearance had invited the words. She was embarrassed for the man and his son.

This is how women are raised, trained to blame themselves and to care for others. The video left me frozen. It’s only now, typing later indoors, that I wish I’d been there to defend Birkbeck and take that man apart. I thought I had no violence in me, but I was wrong.

READ THE REST OF THE COLUMN  HERE  AT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITE

2 COMMENTS

  1. Any guy who would do something like that on-air while a female reporter tries to do her story (like that guy in the photo above), frankly, is an idiot who needs to grow up and get a life.

  2. I feel very sorry for men who have to steep this low to get attention. The only people that think this is funny are low-life single men who have nothing going for them. What do their sisters and aunts and mothers think of this type of behaviour!

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