VPD investigating FHRITP incident targeting CTV reporter
Published Friday, July 22, 2016 12:23PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 22, 2016 6:33PM PDT
Vancouver police have launched an investigation after a stranger ran into a CTV Vancouver live broadcast and directed vulgar obscenities at a female reporter.
Sarah MacDonald was wrapping up a live report from a large Pokémon meetup on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver at 11:30 p.m. Thursday night when the man walked beside and said "f—k her right in the poke balls."
He filmed the prank on Snapchat.
When the heckler ran away, his arm became tangled in the reporter's IFB audio earpiece, which ripped it off her jacket and out of her ear.
Ironically, the reporter was covering a story discussing the privacy concerns surrounding the Pokémon Go craze.
Sgt. Randy Fincham said the suspect could be subject to assault charges.
"It's certainly something we'll look at and if charges are appropriate then we'll look at that," he said.
"The media are here to perform a service, just like we are, of sharing what's happening with the public and I hope people would recognize that and appreciate that and leave them alone."
The incident is the latest in a string of incidents where North American reporters, primarily women, are targeted by the FHRITP prank – delivering sexually explicit taunts on live television.
Last spring, a Hydro One employee was fired and later rehired after flinging obscene language at CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt outside a Toronto stadium. A Calgary man was charged over similar harassment that same month.
After those incidents, CBC Manitoba reported that at least 11 of its reporters had been similarly targeted by the "prank."
The experience is not out of the norm for women, says Kendra Milne of the non-profit women's legal education group West Coast Leaf.
Milne said anyone who dismisses incidents like these as a joke is trivializing an invasive act on a distracted person.
"It really makes women feel unwelcome and unsafe in these jobs," she said. "It really creates barriers to them getting equal placement into those professions."