On the evening of February 26, CBC reporter Chris Glover was in the middle of a live television hit at a comedy bar in Toronto when comedian/actor Boyd Banks did this (warning, super gross content below):
It’s pretty clear that Glover is incredibly uncomfortable, but he somehow remained composed and finished the segment, throwing back to host Dwight Drummond, who told him to move away from Banks. And as soon as the segment aired, the social media reactions started.
The discomfort put upon the newscaster doing his job was the actions of an individual and deemed unacceptable to our standards We are very appalled and embarrassed by his behaviour and this is not what we stand for. He has been banned from the venue. We are sorry @chrisgloverCBC
— Michelle Shaughnessy (@Michellesfunny) February 27, 2019
I just saw this. I hope the police are looking for this guy. You do not get to touch, kiss or lick reporters. It's not funny or cute. Journalists are not your property or there for your pleasure or entertainment. I'm so sorry you experienced this @chrisgloverCBC https://t.co/Hh6Pm1E0Vz
— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) February 27, 2019
The next day, Glover went over the incident with his CBC colleague Susan Bonner. He described how uncomfortable he felt, how he could feel Boyd’s breath on the back of his neck and how he didn’t really know what was happening. “I think in his mind, he was trying to be funny,” said Glover. “But I felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed and I felt I just wanted it to stop.”
Glover also said that he reported the incident to the police. There’s no word on charges yet, but Boyd did apologize during a phone call with CBC Radio.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a reporter harassed on live TV. In 2015, CityNews anchor Shauna Hunt was on the receiving end of obscenities from a soccer fan during her live broadcast at a Toronto FC game—and that was only one of a slew of examples of men yelling “f-ck her right in the pussy” as female reporters were just trying to do their jobs. (One Canadian reporter, Heather Gillis, even got her harasser charged, though his case was dismissed last year.) But what makes this incident different is the part where it happened to a man, reminding us that anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, and we shouldn’t be less willing to take it seriously because of the victim’s gender.
Farrah Khan, the Manager of Consent Comes First at Ryerson University, agrees. “There is an idea that [men] are supposed to laugh it off, or that it only happens to certain types of men, or that it’s the punchline to a joke,” she says. “When young men come to our office for support regarding sexual violence, too often they share feeling shame and self-blame.”
A reminder that there are loads of ways to react when being subjected to sexual harassment. It's okay to be composed, to freeze, to get upset, to speak out. Whatever you choose its okay.
Also he was not just "licked" he was sexually harassed in the workplace. https://t.co/1OCYu0WVed
— Farrah Khan (@farrahsafiakhan) February 27, 2019
According to 1in6, a U.S. org that supports men who have experienced sexual violence, at least one in six men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, though the numbers are likely much higher, since men are less likely than women to disclose their experiences—and only 16% of men who have experienced sexual violence recognize it as such.
But Glover’s case isn’t just a reminder that men can experience sexual violence, too. It also showed us that we can be too quick to decide what is and isn’t an appropriate reaction for a victim. Some social media users thought Glover should have punched Boyd in the face, while others thought the fact that he kept his composure meant it wasn’t that traumatic.
“It is easy to say what you would have done in a situation until you are actually in it,” says Khan. “What we know from the research about trauma response and sexual violence is that people usually do not consciously choose their particular response.” Putting the blame on the person harmed by identifying a “right” way to react is hugely problematic—especially when it’s rooted in gender stereotypes. Khan points to Terry Crews‘ experience, and how he was accused of not reacting like a “real man” because he didn’t fight back when he was assaulted.
During their interview, Bonner asked Glover what he was actually thinking while Boyd was harassing him, despite coming across “so professional.” He said, “I felt like I was about to lose my composure, and I was just thinking, ‘I need to get out of this moment.'”
That was his reaction, and we have to work to understand it, and other trauma responses, so we can be better allies for survivors, no matter their gender.
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