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atheisticmystic

Funny, but not really

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Friday night I was rolling on an interview in a restaurant under a bar in Jackson, Wyoming (staggeringly gorgeous country). Full house, camera and lights are up, wearing my gear, and interview in process when I feel something poking me in my behind. I figure I leaned into something so I shifted my weight...the poke followed me. I sort of swat my hand behind me and turn around to find a red faced man.

"Whats up?" I say.
"You had something on your shorts" the guy who looks drunk says.
"Yeah, it felt like a finger in my butt." I say while feeling a little annoyed.
"You had something on your shorts." he repeats.
 
The hostess is right there, and she has a really weird look on her face. My cans are on, Im representing both a production company and a well-known channel, and my gut says let it slide.
I turn back around and finish the interview.
 
When we cut, the hostess says,
"I am so sorry, I didn't understand what he was doing, that was really creepy, I didnt know what to do."
A couple of minutes later, the drunk walks nearby and gives a huge and athletic smack on (what looks to be) his female partner's butt (they looked to be in their forties, and kinda had that married look).
 
As the night goes on, my feelings start to crystallize:
-I feel angry.
-I didnt use my voice in the moment to say how I really felt.
-I feel a bit, well, violated.
 
I decided to look for the drunk just to say that I didnt like what he did, and dont ever do it again. No luck.
The night ended uneventfully and we wrapped.
 
When the AC and I were pulling away in the van, he said, "There goes your boyfriend !" (as you might imagine, crew teased quite a bit after making sure I was alright).
Sure enough, the drunk, his partner, and another couple were crossing the street behind us.
"PULL OVER", I said.
I jumped out of the van and ran across the street hailing the drunk.
I approached him with outstretched hand and he took it.
I pulled him in close, and with a big smile I said loudly,
"Sir, since you are the only guy in Wyoming to have stuck his finger up my ass, I thought we should at least shake hands before I leave."
The second couple are giggling madly, the drunk's partner looks genuinely horrified, but the drunk (and I say this with much professional experience) is 100% affect-free...flat as a spatula...zombie on Xanax.
My confrontation evaporated my fear, my anger, and my feeling of violation. I smiled broadly, wished everybody a pleasant evening, and ran back to the van. As I was running away, I hear the drunk shout out, "FINALLY...someone who APPRECIATES me !".
 
We laughed quite a bit as a crew, but also discussed that what happened was legally defined as sexual assault. Though I never felt fearful for my safety, I didnt like him touching me. The female PA said that guys touching her at parties and such had happened to her MANY times, and she was the one who used the phrase, "Why didnt I use my voice?"
 
I'm curious to read how the wide variety of sound peeps here would have handled the situation.
 
best,
steven

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Good question. No real answer though. I hope it would of been as good as you did. The thing besides sexual harassment is that confronting a drunk has a lot of danger involved in it. Glad it was resolved with humor and grace.  Weird world we live in.  

CrewC

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I think that my initial reaction would have been the same. It is so ingrained not to speak or to disrupt the shoot while the camera is turning (apart from technical reasons) that I would have endured the rigid digit as you did. But I am pretty certain that I am too cowardly to have confronted the drunk in the street afterwards. In the old days I would have despatched my sound maintenance engineer to give the insolent fellow a sound thrashing, but alas those days are past. 

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Not sexual harassment, but possibly relevant:

I was in the middle of what started as an OTF interview with an NBA celebrity at a signing table but became a walk'n'talk, and ended up in a tight room while outside were more fans waiting to get autographs. So this late 50s guy starts to butt in behind me and pushing my arm, messing up my boom. I tried to softly swat him away, but he kept going. I turned and whispered to him to please wait outside. It became a bit of a scuffle because he thought he'd miss the change to get his shit signed, though I explained that the player would come back out again.

Anyway, it turns out that he was a bit "lit" (I could smell it on him) and wanted to make sure his family didn't miss on the signed posters.

The DP told me later that at some point he actually heard me say "don't touch me!" because the guy kept pushing my arm…

It seems that the location person saw everything from behind and, though he complained to her, she waved it off and told me I'm cool. Needless to say, I was quite upset, not only because he didn't let me do my job, but I spoke during the take.

BK

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A lot of girls feel they should just ignore the situation so it doesn't turn into something worse. It's sad, but I definitely wouldn't wanna piss off a drunk guy who's bigger than me. 

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