MONTREAL – An unidentified man who kissed a Radio-Canada reporter on the cheek without her consent during a live broadcast last Friday has apologized for his actions.
Journalist Valerie-Micaela Bain also said late Monday that she wouldn’t file a criminal complaint after she received the unwanted embrace from a concert-goer as she went live from Montreal’s Osheaga music festival last Friday.
Startled, she shoved him away and yelled at him before calmly continuing her report.
She later posted photos and video of the man to Facebook in an effort to track him down, making clear she found it neither adorable or flattering.
“In the end I would like him to understand why his gesture is unacceptable,” she wrote.
Bain took to social media again Monday evening, publishing an apology she received from the man – a father of two who said he was ashamed and regretted the unwanted gesture.
In a note to the reporter, he admitted he’d gone too far in his actions, explaining he did it to try to get a laugh out of his entourage.
“I sent as a message that it was funny, even normal, to kiss a journalist during a report on the cheek,” he wrote asking forgiveness. “I can not find any words that justifies my gesture.”
The federation representing Quebec journalists says the public needs to be reminded such behaviour is unacceptable.
Stephane Giroux, head of the Quebec journalists’ federation, believes it was a clear-cut case of sexual harassment.
“You would not do that to a random person on the street,” Giroux said Monday. “What makes you think you can do this to a reporter on television doing her work?
“For me, it’s mind-boggling that an adult male would think that he has a right to do this.”
The incident follows others in which on-camera female reporters were heckled with a notorious vulgar phrase, often abbreviated to “FHRITP.”
There have been several cases in North America, including one involving a heckler screaming it at a reporter covering a Toronto FC soccer game.
Some newsrooms across the country have instituted procedures and guidelines, with some hiring private security.
“I don’t think it should (have to) be that way,” Giroux said.
“I think adults should have a lot more judgment than that.”
Bain said she now considers the matter closed, but hopes there’s a lesson learned from it.
“I hope that this incident will remind us that we must not trivialize attacks as small as they are,” she wrote.
© 2017 The Canadian Press