BRITISH COLUMBIA

Disgusting TV Prank Hits Vancouver Newscasters

03/18/2015 04:22 EDT | Updated 03/18/2015 04:59 EDT

Two Vancouver broadcasters have been the subject of an obscene "joke" that started in the U.S.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe was doing a live broadcast on St. Patrick's Day when someone jumped in front of her and yelled to the camera, "F--- her right in the pussy."

She paused briefly and said, "It's a tough one here," before moving on with her report.

#CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe gets her weather forecast hijacked by a #StPatricksDay reveller. "#FuckHerRightInThePussy"

A video posted by Matthew Van Deventer (@matthewjvandeventer) on


A video uploaded to YouTube this week also shows someone interrupting Jon Woodward of CTV News. The reporter was reporting live from a SkyTrain station when a man behind him pops up and appears to say, "F--- her right in the pussy."

The "joke" originated in the U.S. last year, but has trickled into Canada through imitators.

Reporters in Montreal, Toronto, and St. John's have been subjected to the verbal abuse.

Tanya Birkbeck, who was a victim of the prank three times in one day, wrote that it made her feel "totally exposed" and "violated," while veteran CBC reporter Chris O'Neill-Yates called the fad "disgusting and filthy."

TV reporters have been getting pranked on-air since live broadcasts started, says Alfred Hermida, a journalism professor at the University of British Columbia. But the difference now is that it's not ephemeral anymore.

"Somebody now captures it, posts it on Instagram or another social platform, and it's there for everyone to see. It can be amplified much more," he told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.

Hermida, whose book "Tell Everyone" examines the impact of social media, points out people still don't think through the consequences of behaviour that can be shared online.

"I think the other side of the coin is, if it's recorded it and we can see it, we can identify these people and shame them and call them out for being misogynistic."

Hermida said Wagstaffe handled the interruption well, by not acknowledging or challenging it: "Best thing they can do is don't feed the troll."

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