ALBERTA

Rebel Media Reporter Sheila Gunn Reid Says She Was Hit At Edmonton Women's March

01/23/2017 01:28 EST | Updated 01/24/2017 08:49 EST

UPDATE - Jan. 24, 2017: Edmonton police have charged a 34-year-old man named Jason Bews with assault and uttering threats.

Edmonton police are investigating a claim by Rebel Media that a female reporter was assaulted by a male protester during a women's march this weekend.

Two other protesters, however, have come forward to defend the man identified by the right-wing online publication.

Rebel posted a video of an altercation involving Alberta bureau chief Sheila Gunn Reid, who was covering the protest outside of the provincial legislature Saturday.

Rebel later offered a $1,000 reward, on a website called FindTheThug.ca, for name of the man in the clip. The site now identifies the man as Dion Bews — a name not yet verified by police. It's unclear if a cash prize has been claimed.

In the clip, Reid tries to ask the protester a question, but he doesn't answer.

"Go away," he says. "Get out of my f*cking face. I will break your f*cking camera."

The protester then throws a punch that appears to connect with the camera.

"With all the strength his weak little beta arms can muster up, he winds up and bashes it into my face," Reid says in the video.

the rebel womens march

A man identified as Dion Bews captured in Rebel Media's video. (Rebel Media/YouTube)

The reporter is also shown calling out witnesses, who she says failed to protect a woman from assault.

"This little loser, he just struck a woman at a women's rally, was able to escape justice and arrest," Reid says.

One protester shown in the video says that is not the case.

"I got in between them," Laura Mills told The Huffington Post Canada. "I said you have the right to be angry."

Mills explained that she didn't feel comfortable going after the man by herself, but waited with Reid until security arrived.

The Rebel Media did not return HuffPost Canada's request for an interview before publication.

Witnesses dispute claim

Two witnesses, seen in Rebel Media's video, took to Facebook to dispute Reid's version of events on Sunday.

Tiana Barnes and Ezra James say Reid wasn't hit.

"He just hit the camera off the tripod," says Barnes in the Facebook video. "[He] didn't actually assault her in any way."

"Had she been hit, there would have been a reaction," James adds.

Both witnesses are hoping their video stops the spread of "false information," and brings attention back to women's rights.

Ezra Levant on the incident

Rebel Media's Ezra Levant spoke out on the organization's website and Twitter, calling the man a "NDP extremist."


The incident also caught the attention of Jason Kenney, currently running for the leadership of the Alberta PC party.

"Very disturbing to see a woman punched in the face at Edmonton protest yesterday," he tweeted.

And Laureen Harper, wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper, took to Twitter to charge that the "sisters helped the guy slither away."


The media organization is now collecting donations, citing security concerns.

"I’m sending her to public events with a professional security guard," wrote Levant on the site, saying it will cost $40 per hour, plus the cost of travel.

Charges have not yet been laid in the case.

The Canadian Press photographer on scene

A news photographer working for The Canadian Press was on the scene of the alleged assault. Levant asked why none of his photos were published.

"A photojournalist for Canadian Press, who caught the whole thing, buried the story."

Canadian Press Editor-in-Chief Stephen Meurice said the wire service did not suppress the story.

"The Canadian Press does not have any pictures of the alleged altercation between the protester and the Rebel Media reporter. The photographer who was covering the protest for us, Jason Franson, did not have a good view of the apparent altercation," he said in a statement.

"CP did not publish those photos as they did not have any news value on their own. There was no 'suppression' of the story, as Rebel Media maintained."

With files from The Canadian Press.

Also on HuffPost:

Women's March In Canada, January 2017