TORONTO – Ontario’s largest electricity provider has rehired a Toronto engineer fired after soccer fans yelled sexually explicit taunts at a female TV reporter this spring.
Shawn Simoes lost his job as an assistant network management engineer with Hydro One this May in connection with an incident at a Toronto FC game that was captured on camera and widely denounced on social media.
Hydro One said at the time that he was terminated for violating its employee code of conduct.
The company said Monday that he had been offered his job back after arbitration.
“There is an arbitration process in place. Hydro One made its views very clear. This matter was resolved through the arbitration process,” Hydro One said in a statement, adding it would not comment further.
Social media tips had identified Simoes as one of several hecklers caught on video hurling obscenities at CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt.
Hunt fought back by questioning the men about their conduct, but the video shows the men dismissing her questions.
She later said the confrontation came about after almost a year of nearly constant harassment.
Hunt tweeted Monday that Hydro One told her in advance that Simoes had been rehired but she offered no further comment.
Others were quick to condemn the decision on social media.
“@HydroOntario would you care to explain why you have rehired this person? … Thought we forgot about it?” one person tweeted.
“I guess it’s more like a little tolerance for harassment as opposed to zero tolerance. Eh @HydroOne?” wrote another.
Some jumped to Simoes’ defence, however, saying his firing was unfair.
“Wow lots of perfect folks on here who never did or said anything….get over yourselves people,” one said.
The May incident wasn’t the first time hecklers had shouted vulgar comments at female reporters.
The phenomenon was first reported in the U.S., with tales emerging last year of men approaching female reporters and yelling about committing sex acts while live on the air.
Similar incidents in Canada have prompted police forces to warn that hecklers could find themselves facing criminal charges.