She watched it happen to Shauna Hunt and dozens of other female reporters, but she didn’t think sexually explicit vulgarities would be hurled at her while on the job.
Last summer, Kelowna reporter Alana Kelly was interviewing an athlete about the cancelled Apple Triathlon, she had her camera set up and the athlete’s family near by when she was confronted by a man who yelled notorious sexual slur “FHRITP”.
At first she was shocked, embarrassed and uncertain of what she should do, but after talking it over with her colleagues she reported the incident to the police.
“I won’t forget when he said it and everyone around us gasped,” she explained. “I saw the guy coming and I thought, ‘don’t say it, don’t say it’, and I moved my mic away but he yelled and got in my camera.
I couldn’t show that I was angry because I was in the middle of the interview, so I just shrugged it off and tried to be professional.”
Kelly gave her statement and police determined because the incident happened in a public place the man would be charged with causing a disturbance.
“It’s not a harassment charge, which would be better,” she said. “I know it’s a complex thing and I am just happy something is being done. I don’t want to vilify this person, but this is a chance to show what will happen if you think this is funny or this is just a joke and you can get away with it. Police are at least making an example of this and showing that they are doing something.”
Bo Poirier was charged on Oct. 2; however officers were unable to find the man who had no fixed address.
Poirier is known to police and often frequents Penticton and Kelowna.
When Poirier is finally arrested and given a court date, Kelly says she will attend the appearance.
“Some people think because I am a reporter and in the public that this is what happens, but just because I am a reporter does not mean I should be sexually harassed,” said Kelly. “What is going on that makes people think that this is funny, now you’ve not only ruined my story but you think you can say these disgusting and vulgar comments to a female — it should not be accepted.”
Kelly who has been working with Castanet media for two years, says she is lucky she has had some great female role models in her life that have helped her cope with this situation, but she still looks over her shoulder when she is out on a shoot.
“I think not talking about it, isn’t going to fix this,” she said. “So maybe if someone hears this they’ll know I have feelings, I am not a robot, and this hurt me, it humiliated me and maybe they will think twice or if they know someone who thinks it’s funny that they’ll tell them it’s not.”