A pregnant Toronto reporter may be pressing charges after an unidentified man yelled "FHRITP" at her on live television.
City News reporter Anna Vlachos was performing a live news report in Toronto's Little Italy district on Thursday, when verbal abuse was hurled at her by an unidentified man. A police cruiser could be seen in the background.
"Little Italy can expect some big headaches this summer," Vlachos says in the segment, before being interrupted by a man who yelled "f*** her right in the P****!" on camera.
— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews) April 27, 2016
Vlachos ignored the man's abuse, lightly tapped him away, and continued the rest of her live hit.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Vlachos said that the man approached her camera crew before they began recording and fist-bumped the cameraman. He then tried to talk to them as they were setting up, ignoring their attempts to continue working.
Vlachos had been verbally harassed by "FHRITP" taunts right before the incident, as well as the week before. City News reports that a man on a bike had harassed her only minutes before, as she was rehearsing.
"You don’t even know me, I am feeling so vulnerable because I am pregnant," Vlachos told the man. "Now I can’t even do my job properly.”
She's considering pressing charges against the harasser caught on-camera, however she isn't certain it's the right choice.
"If I press criminal charges, I have to deal with the fact I might be ruining his life. He might lose his job," she said. "These are all things that are weighing on me."
At the same time, Vlachos, who is six months pregnant, acknowledges that drawing attention to this issue would make a difference to her and her unborn daughter.
"I don't want her [my daughter] to face what I faced. This type of harassment, this type of vulgarity," Vlachos said.
Viewers and fellow reporters commended her on Twitter and expressed their disgust in misogynistic behaviour.
— Avery Haines (@CityAvery) April 27, 2016
@CityAnnaV did I just witness what I think I just witnessed on live TV??? Is that bullshit still going on?? Guys r still doing that shit??
— David (@Haynes_rants) April 27, 2016
@CityAnnaV I could not believe that it happened I did a double take and then checked that my daughter (7) didn't catch it. She watches w/ me
— Andrew Templeton (@aj_templeton) April 27, 2016
No one deserves to be harassed while working. I was shocked and surprised. You've done a great job. @CityAnnaV
— Kazi Hossain (@OfficeRealtor) April 27, 2016
The degrading taunt seems to have originated from an obscene video that went viral over two years ago. The FHRITP meme, engineered by a Youtube user John Cain, was revealed to be a hoax and has been used to sell "FHRITP" T-shirts sold by Cain.
In spite of the joke's hoax history, people have taken it upon themselves to use the crass phrase as a go-to way to interrupt mainly female journalists from doing their on-camera jobs.
Here's the "FHRITP" confrontation from the TFC game last night. Please retweethttp://t.co/Lrot7E9fUQ
— Shaunacitynews (@shaunacitynews) May 11, 2015
Another City News reporter, Shauna Hunt, was on the receiving end of a "FHRITP" heckle from men passing by in 2015. In a now-viral video, she fired back at the men on live television. Hydro One employee Shawn Simoes was fired after the incident, and then re-hired after six months.
While public ire has shamed those who have engaged in yelling "FHRITP" at reporters, no criminal charges have been laid in Canada. Potentially, the crass term could be considered an obscenity under the Criminal Code Section 175, wherein "FHRITP" could be a public disturbance through "screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or using insulting or obscene language" and prosecuted under a summary conviction.