Shocking video shows television reporter assaulted while on the job near Toronto
Reporters are integral cogs in the constant flow of content required to satiate the media-hungry masses, but the job comes with some major drawbacks in the 21st century.
Now more than ever, newsmakers have to stomach regular abuse as politically-charged fault lines become chasms. But long before the recent uptick in abuse directed at journalists covering public health mandates, investigative reporters covering the consumer beat have considered these shocking confrontations just another part of the job.
A recent incident between a Global Consumer SOS team and an auto shop owner under investigation was all captured on camera, offering a window into the abuse and occasional violence that stands as an unseen barrier between media producers and consumers.
Investigative reporter Sean O'Shea was confronted by an irate business owner on Thursday afternoon outside of EM Automotive Repair, 5-4 Heritage Rd, in Markham, and he says it's not the first time he's encountered violence on the job.
Doing our jobs in Markham for a Friday consumer story. The owner of an auto repair shop walked out to cameraman @RobFordGlobalTV and did this. (Thinking of late Global and CITY TV reporter Peter Silverman in moments like these). pic.twitter.com/O108mc6Zdd— 𝚂𝚎á𝚗 𝙾’𝚂𝚑𝚎𝚊 Global News (@ConsumerSOS) August 19, 2022
O’Shea tells blogTO that he and his cameraman "were in the common laneway waiting for the owner of the shop to ask him about repairs that were done or not done for a customer who is the focus of the story airing tonight."
In the video, the business owner can be seen striking O'Shea's arm in an attempt to knock the microphone away while aggressively moving toward the reporter.
O'Shea backs up during the confrontation but verbally stands his ground, asserting his right to be on public property and insisting that the business owner "take your hands off me and step back."
This is far from the first time O'Shea's reporting has placed him in potentially dangerous situations, and he explains that this type of confrontation "happens frequently when doing consumer investigations."
"Over the years, I've been shoved, grabbed, shouted at nose-to-nose, even sprayed down with a chemical fire extinguisher — on camera."
That latter incident even got a mention from one of O'Shea's Global News colleagues.
Hopefully no fire extinguisher in sight…— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) August 19, 2022
"Some story subjects get very agitated when caught in a lie, caught cheating a customer, or just explaining their actions."
Though O'Shea has experienced run-ins with angry members of the public for much of his 35-year career, he has also felt the sudden surge in hostility towards media professionals in recent years.
"I covered the so-called freedom convoy for several weeks this winter. Global and other networks, including CBC, had to hire private security to accompany us everywhere because of hostility, indirect threats, and harassment."
While he has been face-to-face with many angry business owners in his line of work over the years, O'Shea admits that covering the convoy was "the first time in my career that we've needed security in the field."
Join the conversation Load comments