Fe­male re­porter kissed on live TV at mu­sic fes­ti­val

North Bay Nugget - - OPINION - Sidhartha Ban­er­jee

MoN­TreaL — The lat­est in­ci­dent of a fe­male TV re­porter be­ing ha­rassed on the job has the fed­er­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Que­bec jour­nal­ists calling for the public to be re­minded such be­haviour is un­ac­cept­able.

ra­dio-Canada’s Va­lerie-Mi­caela Bain was kissed on the cheek by an uniden­ti­fied con­cert-goer as she went live from Mon­treal’s osheaga mu­sic fes­ti­val.

star­tled, she shoved him away and yelled at him be­fore calmly con­tin­u­ing her re­port Fri­day night.

“Kiss­ing some­one without their con­sent is no,” she wrote in a Face­book post out­ing the uniden­ti­fied man with im­ages and video that was then shared nearly 8,000 times.

“you’re both­er­ing me. I’m work­ing.”

stephane giroux, head of the Que­bec jour­nal­ists’ fed­er­a­tion, be­lieves it’s a clear-cut case of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“you would not do that to a ran­dom per­son on the street,” giroux said Mon­day. “What makes you think you can do this to a re­porter on tele­vi­sion do­ing her work?

“For me, it’s mind-bog­gling that an adult male would think that he has a right to do this.”

In her post, Bain makes clear the kiss was not adorable or flat­ter­ing.

“In the end I would like him to un­der­stand why his ges­ture is un­ac­cept­able,” she wrote.

The de­bate over the in­ci­dent and the re­porter’s re­ac­tion has raged, but giroux, a vet­eran tele­vi­sion re­porter with CTV, said Bain was noth­ing but pro­fes­sional.

“It’s ex­tremely stress­ful to be live on tele­vi­sion, you have to fo­cus, you have to aware of your en­vi­ron­ment,” he said. “I don’t think we can sim­ply dis­miss it by say­ing: ‘tough luck, you’re go­ing live and it’s part of the game.’ ”

over the week­end, ra­dio-Canada took to its Face­book page to com­mend Bain for keep­ing her com­po­sure on air af­ter the in­ci­dent.

“It goes without say­ing that ra­dio-Canada de­nounces this kind of un­ac­cept­able be­haviour to­wards its jour­nal­ists and that the safety of our jour­nal­ists is of para­mount im­por­tance for us,” the French­language CBC said.

ra­dio-Canada de­clined to com­ment fur­ther on the mat­ter Mon­day and wouldn’t say if a po­lice com­plaint had been filed.

“For now, ev­ery­thing has been said on the week­end — both on so­cial me­dia and from Madame Bain — so we have noth­ing fur­ther to add,” spokesman Marc Pichette said.

Mon­treal po­lice cited con­fi­den­tial­ity in re­fus­ing to say whether an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way.

The in­ci­dent fol­lows oth­ers in which on-cam­era fe­male re­porters were heck­led with a no­to­ri­ous sex­u­ally ex­plicit phrase, of­ten ab­bre­vi­ated to “FhrITP.”

There have been sev­eral cases in North amer­ica, in­clud­ing one in­volv­ing a heck­ler scream­ing it at a re­porter cov­er­ing a Toronto FC soc­cer game.

some news­rooms across the coun­try have in­sti­tuted pro­ce­dures and guide­lines, with some hir­ing pri­vate se­cu­rity.

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