Street harassment and Shauna Hunt

Trigger warning: explicit language and sexual harassment

TIL there’s a meme in which men heckle TV reporters when they were filming live, by jumping into the shot and saying “fuck her right in the pussy” into the microphone. It’s pretty widespread, as you can see in the montage in this report, and last week, CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt got fed up and confronted some men after having just been harassed by one of them. Here’s the raw video.

One of the men who made harassing remarks to Shauna Hunt during this interchange lost his job late last week, and Tabatha Southey has a great article about the reaction to that, called The vulgar heckling incident: Let me spell it out for you.

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s one passage I think is especially fantastic:

There will be, of course, wails about free speech from people who do not understand that the concept of free speech includes the right to say, “You’re an idiot.”

Also, I don’t care that this lame, tired stunt is occasionally done with male reporters as well. That hardly redeems it: Shouting sexually explicit things is sexual harassment.

“Surely there was some way this could have been handled without Mr. Simoes losing his job?” some have said. Likely, yes, but that wasn’t Hydro One’s call. And Hydro One is not Mr. Simoes’s parent or his therapist. It’s not nanny-Hydro One, and they’re not obliged to coach or reform him or employ him, and there’s no question the man made himself, through considerable effort, not a momentary one-line lapse, a liability.

Hydro One has other employees to consider, people who might not feel comfortable working under or beside a man who has made it clear that sexually harassing women while they work is something fun that he’s entitled to do, and if they object they are failing in their duty to feel grateful they don’t have a vibrator in their ear.

I’m not sure whether or not to be pleased that I’m raising my kids in a world in which harassing women *might* get you in serious trouble (none of the men in that montage were confronted or prosecuted, to the best of my knowledge), though I guess it’s better than the world I was raised in. Here’s hoping we keep doing better at holding people accountable for their actions.

And gigantic kudos to Shauna Hunt, whose brave example will (hopefully) encourage more people to confront harassers.

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