RESPONSE to MARK HASIUK PIECE
Hi All, I wrote this response regarding the worst journalisnm I've seen in this City. Mr Hasiuk of the Vancouver Courier was expelled from a private roundtable forum on prostitution organized by communications students at Simon Fraser University. He was invited by Abolitionists who he has a close relationship with. If you want to see Mr Hasiuk's piece Pro Prostitution Carnival hijacks Community Roundtable visit www.vancourier.com
I understand you were upset after being asked to leave the prostitution forum held recently at SFU Downtown campus. This request for media to leave obviously has caused you some anguish and in return because you are a journalist at the Vancouver Courier this provided you a forum like a petulant little boy to lash out at those you consider responsible for your expulsion. moreover, you have I believe mis-used your paper to get back at those who you dis-agree with.
Your journalistic integrity though suffers a blow when instead of writing a piece on your observations, you resort to name-calling and an all out attack on those who favour a harm reduction approach to the prostitution issue here in Vancouver.
In no particular order here are my thoughts on your story.
First you call a number of us who you claim are 'pro prostitution' as 'old white women'. This is pathetic journalism as well as being inaccurate. Those speaking at the forum who are in favour of a harm reduction approach include Julie from the organization SWAN who advocates for Asian females involved in the sex trade. Julie herself is a younger Asian woman. Two young Pivot lawyers who are Mothers and brought their babies could hardly be called 'old'. Plus there was myself and I am Aboriginal and not a 'white woman'.
Next you attack Scarlett Lake who was attending as an observer by calling her a 'pimp' which was uncalled for. Scarlett is a sex trade worker and owner/operator of an Independent escort service but to reduce her to a 'pimp' which has serious implications is yellow journalism.
You also go on about the 'pro prostitution' side as bleach blondes and heavily made up. Nice try Mr Hasiuk but this obviously shows your disdain for women. The only blonde I saw at the Forum was Scarlett and I don't think whether a woman or a man for that reason touches up their hair should give rise to being called a bleached out blonde, as you have done.
Your put down of women in such a derogatory way shows that you have some issues in your life Mr Hasiuk.
You also go on about the Abolitionist side being outnumbered at the forum by the 'pro prostitution side'. This is a distortion and you know it Mr Hasiuk. In fact the numbers were the opposite. I counted 6 of us who favour sex trade safety and the number of Abolitionists present was 12.
When we were invited to participate in the Forum, the agreed upon agenda stipulated that each speaker would be given 10 minutes to speak. At the start of the meeting there was a request from the group identifying themselves as Abolitionists that they wished to have 20 minutes to speak. This was unfair and I spoke up about this and so the Forum organizers caucused and agreed that the original allotment of time for each speaker would stand.
Next it came to the attention of the room and forum organizers that media was present. This Forum was private and therefore you were asked to leave. It is noteworthy that the Forum organizers stated they had not invited the media (you) and one can only conclude since this forum wasn't publicized that you Mr Hasiuk were attending upon the invitation of the Abolitionist side who you often write favourably toward. In fact I asked you to self-disclose your stance on this issue and you refused. I did this because I wasn't going to participate in a meeting where only one media was present who could possibly present information favourable toward those on one side who want to prohibit prostitution.
Your recent column cements my point where in the short time present at the meeting, you provide to Courier readers a distorted and inaccurate perspective of the meeting. I can only imagine what you may have done if allowed to be there for the whole meeting.
You go on to claim that the meeting started one hour late and you are wrong here. We were asked to attend for 12:30 pm where a light lunch would be served with the program starting at 1pm. The forum actually started at 1:15pm. Perhaps those who invited you didn't convey this information to you.
Next you go on to attack prominent feminist and lesbian activist Esther Shannon by calling her rabid. Ms Shannon has viewpoints but to reduce her public and professional record of public service to being rabid is disgusting.
After the forum organizers asked you to leave, you, Mr Hasiuk, quite aggressively singled out MP Libby Davies yelling across the room at her that you were one of her constituents and what was her opinion of the media being tossed from a 'public forum'. The forum Mr Hasiuk was not a public meeting as you state and why you would single out MP Davies for your wrath is troubling. It was the organizers who asked you to leave.
It is obvious from your article that the Courier has an editorial stance of favouring Abolition of Prostitution. I find this somewhat ironic though considering that the Courier takes ads from sex workers. Of course the obvious must be stated here. The Courier receives revenue from those engaged in the world's oldest profession yet wants to prohibit prostitution. Interesting.
Finally, I just want to say I feel sorry for the female staff working at the Courier who work alongside a male who seems full of anger and rage. One who thinks sex workers are the evil scourges on earth who must be rid of at all costs. Further, that women who colour their hair or wear make-up are less than other women in society and therefore must be publicly ridiculed and scorned--all in order--so that you can further your agenda of abolishing prostitution.
Sad Mr Hasiuk really sad.
Jamie Lee Hamilton