There is this so-called prank going around where some guy (and occasionally a woman) goes up to a reporter doing live coverage and makes a vulgar remark. The reporter is almost always a woman (remember, it is exceptions that make the rule). Generally these get edited out and people accept it as a nasty part of doing the job. No longer. This weekend a City News reporter stood up to the clowns and confronted them.
She got little immediate satisfaction as the idiots collectively dismissed her complaints, claiming to be funny (I won’t call them half-wits because there was nothing witty about them). They continued to spout vulgarities, grinning like masturbating monkeys while they did it. They even claimed their mother would approve.
Sometimes the expression: wait for it, is the perfect one. One of the guys lost his job as a result. Others are being banned from attending future major league soccer games in Canada. I wonder what their mothers think of them now.
A few people have decried the punishment as excessive, claiming that employers have no right to interfere with what people do in their private lives.
While I’ve never been a fan of big brother, in this case I think the response was completely appropriate.
First of all, speaking into a television camera is not your private life; nothing really could be more public. Committing what could be construed as a criminal act — making rape threats, causing a public disturbance, sexual harassment — is not a private thing. It generally winds up in court and in the media.
If, as in this case, you can be readily identified with your employer (the fired guy had recently been in the paper because of his high salary), you are indeed causing damage to that employer. And, as in this case, you had agreed to a code of conduct, you had certainly violated your contract.
Here’s the thing. Suppose this guy had been caught selling cocaine to children. No-one would question for a moment that he should be fired. But because ‘all’ he was doing was being offensive and abusive towards a woman, it’s okay and he shouldn’t be punished. GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE! As long as people continue to think that death and rape threats against women, sexual assault of women, and, continuing down the spectrum, the beating and murder of women are lesser crimes, we will never live in a civilized society.
So, I, for one, am glad that these jerks were caught on camera. I’m glad they revealed their true nature. I’m glad Hydro One stood up for the rights of their employees to work in an environment where sexual harassment is not tolerated. Because you have to know that a guy who would behave like that on television would certainly make inappropriate remarks and maybe take inappropriate actions in the workplace.
And for those who think his free speech was being inhibited. Nobody stopped him from talking (though he might wish they had); they just held him accountable for what he said.
Which we could use a lot more of in our society.
But that’s ten minutes.