'I'm working'

Veteran reporter dealt with scary encounter during live TV broadcast

Radio-Canada reporter Valerie-Micaela Bain and an unidentified sexual harasser. (Facebook).

A news reporter in Canada found herself in a scary situation, having to fend off sexual harassment while she was in the middle of a live broadcast last week. As she delivered her report to the camera, a man suddenly snuck up behind her and attempted to kiss her. The journalist later posted about the ordeal on Facebook, which led to a surprising outcome.

Valerie-Micaela Bain, a reporter for Radio-Canada, was in the middle of a live shot from Montreal’s Osheaga music festival when a man quietly walked into the frame, invaded her personal space and attempted to plant a kiss on Bain’s cheek. The interloper’s lips made contact with her face, startling the reporter. Bain verbally objected and then physically shoved the man away. Maintaining remarkable poise, Bain said “Excuse me” to the astonished anchor back in the studio and the live audience, and then carried on with her live report, before throwing to a pre-recorded segment. Here’s the full video of the incident (the unwanted kiss happens at about the 35-second mark).

What happened next is truly amazing. Bain, who’s been with Radio-Canada for 10 years, posted about the ordeal on Facebook, sharing screen shots and the full video of the encounter, which has racked up more than a million views. She said she was posting about the incident and showing the man’s face in a bid to raise awareness about sexual harassment and help him understand the severity of the negative impact his brutish behavior had on her — not so that authorities would arrest the perpetrator or that vigilantes would take revenge on him.

“It’s not acceptable to kiss me just because you see me on the street or anywhere,” Bain said in the post. “It’s not suddenly acceptable to kiss a woman just because she’s reporting live on television. Kissing someone without his consent is no. You’re bothering me, I’m working,” she added.

Amazingly, the man got the message.

Three days later, Bain made a followup post on Facebook and said she’d received an overwhelming amount of support from colleagues and viewers. But she also heard from her harasser who got in touch to apologize. According to Bain’s post, the man said he’s a father of two daughters and he expressed deep regret over having displayed behavior that sent “a message that it was funny, if not normal, to kiss on the cheek a journalist during a report.”

“I wish I could find the best words to express the regret and the shame that I have been feeling following yesterday’s events,” the man, whom she did not identify, said. “Another thousand apologies. I can’t find any words that justify my action,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

Bain was also praised by her employer, which also denounced the man’s actions, and won the praise of social media commenters far and wide. We join that chorus. Read her full followup post below.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.


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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.

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