Fuck you right in your job

Two Toronto men are paying the price for comments they made to a reporter whose live broadcast was interrupted by a phrase that’s trending with misogynist morons.

Shauna Hunt

Toronto City TV reporter Shauna Hunt confronts a pair of bros


It’s hard to feel sorry for two Toronto men who are now paying the price for comments they made to a sports broadcaster after her live broadcast was interrupted by cries of “Fuck her right in the pussy.”

(Sorry if you’re offended by seeing the real words used here, but using dashes to “soften” the obscenity is ridiculous.)

After a clip of the incident went viral on social media, one of the men, Shawn Simoes, was fired from his six-figure job at Ontario’s Hydro One. The other, Ryan Hart, works for the Cognex Corporation, which issued a statement saying: “We cannot comment on employee matters publicly, but we take this issue seriously and will be addressing it.”

Simoes and Hart weren’t the ones who actually shouted out FHRITP while CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt was broadcasting after a Toronto Football Club soccer match. But Hunt suspected they were getting ready to repeat the stunt (you can read about its origins here) and so she turned the camera on them and challenged them to defend the action. Which they did, with the same type of inarticulate, juvenile bravado you’d expect from grown men who think it’s funny to shout misogynistic vulgarities at women who are trying to do their jobs (or women who are, more often than not, simply walking down the street).

If you were watching CBC’s The National last night (that’s the show that came on just as you were tossing your Habs jersey in the hamper), you might have noticed the irony that, shortly after reporting on the FHRITP incident, the network aired a feature report on “Online shaming: the return of mob morality.”

In it, reporter Neil Macdonald looks at the explosive force that Facebook and Twitter can have when private individuals are selected for public shaming, focusing on the case of Adria Richards. A tech developer attending an industry conference, Richards tweeted a photo of two delegates, complaining about them making sexist jokes right behind her as she tried to listen to a presentation. Conference organizers saw it, apologized and said the men were called on the carpet. Later, it turns out, one of the men was fired. “Which sucks,” the man would later tweet, “because I have three kids.”

Perversely, that turned the tide against Richards, who was not only subjected to vitriolic attacks via social media but was fired shortly afterwards when her employer, SendGrid, decided the controversy she sparked was bad for business. SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin wrote that Richards’ “decision to tweet the comments and photographs of the people who made the comments crossed the line. Publicly shaming the offenders — and bystanders — was not the appropriate way to handle the situation.”

Nope. According to Franklin, the appropriate way to report inappropriate conduct is through the same discrete channels — in this case, reporting the men to conference organizers — that ensure nothing ever changes. By tweeting, Richards instead sparked a public discussion that not only raised awareness of how such behaviour alienates women, but showed the kind of men who think it’s funny that there can be real consequences to acting like pigs.

Unfortunately, the consequences for her were also harsh and years later she still has to hide from online stalkers.


Last weekend’s FHRITP incident wasn’t the first time that reporter Shauna Hunt had experienced the vulgar stunt. She reacted angrily because she was fed up with the prank after a year of constantly being verbally assaulted while trying to do her job. On Saturday, she decided it was time to finally challenge some of the offenders.

Hunt was far from the first to complain. Montreal CBC reporters Tanya Birkbeck and Morgan Dunlop contributed to a local report on the disturbingly widespread trend last November.

“It felt personal,” Birkbeck said after she had been interrupted three times in the same day by someone yelling FHRITP into her microphone. “(It’s) not just a catchphrase, but more of a taunt suggesting that the men around me, instead of talking to me, should be, you know, raping me.”

CBC colleague Dunlop even interviewed the man who started the trend via a faked newsclip. Internet “prankster” John Cain protested that it wasn’t aimed at women: “Male and female reporters have both encountered being interrupted during a live broadcast so it’s not just women. It is not an attack on women in any way.”

“In fact, I love women and I would FHRITP all of them if they wanted,” he added, as if his misogyny needed further emphasis.


It’s quite possible that some of the idiots who blurt these things out have suffered consequences after video clips were seen by their bosses, spouses, family and friends. But until now, the repercussions have remained private, allowing fans of the prank to continue in their delusion that it’s harmless, widely accepted and risk-free.

That’s no longer the case, thanks to Hunt’s counter-attack and the tsunami of indignation that followed. Police are now saying that similar gestures could be prosecuted under various provisions of the criminal code, sending a clear chill down the spines of people who still think it’s funny to verbally assault women who are just trying to do their jobs.

That, unfortunately, didn’t happen — despite numerous protests by female reporters — until a couple of offenders were publicly exposed and their livelihoods put on the line.

Is this the best way to resolve these conflicts? Of course not. But as long as women aren’t taken seriously when they complain about harassment and discrimination, the court of public opinion will continue to be more attractive than no court at all.
Peter Wheeland is a Montreal journalist. His sardonic observations about the city and province appear on Cult MTL every week. You can contact him by Email or follow him on Twitter.