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FHRITP heckling incidents could lead to criminal charges, Montreal police say

05/13/2015 07:42 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 05:59 EDT
Professional sports teams and police in Montreal say those making vulgar comments to female reporters in the city could face serious consequences — or even criminal charges.

The troubling trend known as FHRITP, which stands for 'F--k her right in the p---y,' resurfaced again this week in Toronto, where a group of men hurled obscenities at a CityNews reporter covering a soccer game.

One of those men ended up getting fired after a video of the reporter confronting them was widely circulated online.

The slogan has also been shouted at CBC reporters in Montreal.

Montreal police Sgt. Laurent Gingras said those who do so could potentially be charged with disrupting the peace in a public place, which falls under Article 175 of the Criminal Code.

"But you'd have to check the exact circumstances or words," he said, adding that identifying a suspect could be difficult in some cases.

Gingras said if the incident went farther, and involved grabbing a microphone or pushing a reporter, then assault or sexual assault could potentially apply.

Gingras also said many boroughs have by-laws against using obscenities in public.

No tolerance from teams

Meanwhile, some Montreal teams say they won't tolerate the behaviour.

In a statement today, the Montreal Impact said fans engaging in racist or sexist gestures or conduct will be kicked out — and barred from matches for the following year.

The Alouettes said their security guards would help reporters facing abuse.

No one with the Canadiens was available for comment today.

Theresa Bianco, a sports psychologist at Concordia University, said a zero-tolerance policy is crucial to tackling the problem.

"If the teams don't do anything, if they don't respond, then that lack of response will be taken as an indicator that they support what's going on, unfortunately," she said.

"In a sporting environment, the moral constraints are loosened. People tend to behave in ways they wouldn't normally behave outside the arena, if you like. And if you look at sports, people are bashing each other, and doing things that outside of sport might be considered assault."

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