04/23/2015 01:14 EDT | Updated 04/23/2015 01:59 EDT

Calgarians Fed Up With Red Mile Harassment Are Pushing Back


Calgarians concerned with the safety of the city's Red Mile during post-playoff game celebrations are speaking out, and it appears the pressure might be working.

Backlash against a #cansformonahan hashtag and website that appeared last week — both which encouraged woman to flash their breasts in support of the Flames — has caused the campaign to disappear from the web.

According to Metro Calgary, the website and corresponding Instagram account were created by a man who would only identify himself as "Mike."

Mike, however, insisted that he wasn't explicitly requesting nude photos, but rather a way to see "Flames fans in sexy pictures."

A group of women, frustrated with the campaign and other harassment often seen during Red Mile celebrations, are attempting to educate people via social media, using the hashtag #saferedmile.

Elizabeth Booth, one of the women helping to mobilize the hashtag, told 770 News that women are too often sexualized through sports and should not be afraid to speak out against it.

Her tweet to Mayor Naheed Nenshi prompted the mayor to ask women to share their stories from 17 Avenue.

More than fifty people will attempt to educated Calgarians about consent on the Red Mile Thursday night, just before game five of the playoff series begins.

"The pussy cats consent awareness team on red mile" has created a Facebook event asking participants to bring posters condemning sexual violence and raising awareness about consent. The group will gather outside Western Canada High School at 7 p.m.

Stasha Huntingford, one of the group's organizers, told Global News that an obscene "prank" that showed up on the Red Mile last week acted a catalyst for the event's creation.

A YouTube video of the incident shows Global reporter Stefan Keyes interrupted by a passerby who grabs his microphone, yelling, ""F--- her right in the pussy. Go, Flames, go." Calgary Herald reporter Erika Stark was subject to similar vile statements several nights later.

“The media pranks that are happening were really triggering for a lot of people who have experience with sexual violence, so we just wanted to talk about consent and raise awareness about what that means,” Huntingford said.

“We as a society need to decide what is acceptable, and this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. It’s a very masculine culture along the Red Mile. But we can celebrate hockey without being violent,” she told the Calgary Herald.

Calgary Police say they will crack-down on incidents of harassment against the media, and spokesman Kevin Brookwell told Global News they will consider pursuing charges against anyone involved in such pranks.

“If it means somebody’s got to go to jail to learn a lesson, so be it.”

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