Death threats. Racist taunts. Vows of violence. Inside the increasingly personal attacks targeting Canadian female journalists, one thing is clear: They’re not going to back down.
Since CBC News announced last month that it would be launching a series of programs about women in journalism, it has faced a barrage of abuse, much of it targeted specifically at young journalists. Some of the incidents — including a threat of rape — have been reported to the police.
But the series of events that began with CBC News president Hubert Lacroix telling the Toronto Star in late February that a young female journalist would be fired for coming forward with a story about alleged harassment and a sexual assault came on May 31 with the release of a report of the Canadian Association of Journalists’ sexual harassment investigation by reporter Rebecca Bounds, former reporter for the Ottawa Sun and current CBC Radio host.
In a lengthy Facebook post she wrote shortly after the release of the report, Bounds detailed a number of accounts that had been sent to her by journalists who received sexual messages and comments from CBC executives and employees. The messages were sent to male journalists as well, but were often more abusive than those sent to female journalists.
Among the many accounts Bounds included with her post was one that included the statement: “I can’t believe you are a girl. You are so immature that your head is at her feet.”
Another included: “I hope you are raped in some way so you’ll remember the pain you caused to this man.”
“They are attempting to intimidate and silence women and girls who are brave enough to speak out about sexual harassment,” Bounds wrote in the post.
“I am a journalist, a human being, and a feminist, who believes in freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” she said. “I have faced sexual harassment myself. Many members of the CBC have.”
A few days after the report was released, Lacroix made his Facebook post. At first, he described the CBC’s new series as “an important and necessary step,” with a “big vision. A big hope.”
He added: “We need this series because of the seriousness of the issue, its prevalence, and our responsibility to protect the