#FHRITP (Figures He Really Is a Total Prick)*
* Title from a previous status update of Facebook
I love waking up to news that shouldn’t matter, but does. Typical fake outrage comes from seemingly drunk politicians, Bill Maher or drunk politicians talking to Bill Maher. It’s pretty simple. Today, we were blessed with the #FRHITP hashtag blasting everywhere from an incident that occurred Sunday. I was at the TFC game in question, where City News Reporter Shauna Hunt attempted to interview TFC fans post-usual-crap-game and got a FHRITP for her troubles. You can see it here if you don’t know what that particular acronym means.
Firstly, hats off to Shauna for taking the idiot to task. People much smarter than I have equated to the lad’s utterance as ‘sexual harassment’ and I tend to agree. This goes beyond a boyish prank. Let’s call it what it is; childish and vile. I’m ashamed to call him a “fellow fan” of the team that I enjoy watching fail at football week after week after week. I applaud Shauna for not buckling and brushing this event off and I thank her for her bravery. Now, people are coming up using #FHRITP and “freedom of speech” in the same sentence. They’re wrong to do so. Here’s why.
Firstly, go help yourself to the “Best of FHRITP”. I won’t put it here. Suffice to say you can find it by cleverly typing into your preferred search engine “Best of FHRITP”. You’ll get clip after clip of (usually) female reporters suffering from voice-bombing (usually) young males shouting “FHRITP” and running off camera. Oh. Hilarious.
Initially, I took to blaming it on the age of the people doing this. To generalize, most of the culprits are frat boy-aged attention hogs who wish to show their Alpha-toughs by putting a swear or two in a live broadcast. Sure. I get it. It’s a juvenile prank. Cute.
But the key here is “juvenile”. I find it interesting that people older than the stereotypical 20-something male drunk on Coors Light are defending this frat boy mentality beyond a “Boys will be boys” argument and offering them the right to do so. And yes, that is true. They have the right to do so. But in so doing, they also give us the right to label them as “Assholes”. One of the guys that screamed #FHRITP to Shauna Hunt got fired from his job at Hydro One. Good. He was an Asshole.
Do I think anyone should lose their job unjustly? Having lost a job or two in my life, absolutely not. But, you enter in a social contract with everyone you engage with. Your employer, your girlfriend, the person you sit beside on the bus. As part of that contract, whoever you engage with has the right to either be with you, or not. If you turn out to be an Asshole, chances are they will leave. Hydro One decided they didn’t want to be around an Asshole, so they fired him. And before you start looking up “Wrongful Dismissal” on Wikipedia (Here it is to save you the bother) you can bet that the contract the Asshole signed probably had statements in the contract about “not disgracing the name of Hydro One” and “termination thereof”. So, we can pretty well be sure that if lawyers get called in, they’re good.
So then the argument becomes the “Right to Free Speech”. Here again, not the case. The Right to Free Speech has everything to do with people in positions of authority not arresting you for the things you say. It does not give you free licence to talk like an Asshole. When you do, society has the right to treat you like an Asshole. But we all know, even from those attempting to hide behind Freedom of Speech, that they themselves don’t believe it. If you truly believe that you have the right to say what you want, when you want, without recrimination, they why do you run on camera, blurt out your rapey phrase and then run off like a coward. Most people who call on the Right to Free Speech are standing by what they say figuratively and literally, not moving, allowing the authorities to consider their next move. They do not run off camera because they know in their hearts what they’re saying is wrong.
Freedom of Speech is like driving. We all agree to share the road and abide by the rules. Drunk driving is against the law. Driving like an Asshole is not. Don’t let a guy in trying to merge. Steal a guy’s parking space. It’s all legal. But you’re an Asshole. And I’m glad people like Shauna Hunt stood up, pointed a finger and said “Hey, look at that Asshole.”
Good luck getting your next job. Asshole.