Blogs & Comment

Rioting a fireable offense

Turns out antisocial behaviour doesn't impress your employer. Who knew?

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A police car burns during a riot in downtown Vancouver following the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in game 7 of the Stanley Cup hockey final. Geoff Howe/CP

It seems that the sun has set on the days of the good ole’ fashioned riot.

It used to be that if you found yourself in or near a riot, you could mindlessly jump into the fray, smash some things, assault some people and then slink back into anonymity — safe from the prying eyes of the law, your peers, and family.

After some interesting discussion by my colleague Chris MacDonald, it’s now official. The party is over.

Just ask Camille Cacnio, a UBC student who cheerily looted a store during Vancouver’s recent riot as cameras rolled. Not only did her fleeting dabble in anarchy bring her national infamy, the manager at her part-time job fired her for it.

Ditto for Alex Prochazka, a professional mountain biker who figured it was pretty rad to pose in front of a burning, overturned vehicle. Small-time athletes like Prochazka live and die by the good graces of their sponsors, who in this case don’t seem to share his enthusiasm for burning and looting. Sunglasses and apparel maker Oakley — whose logo is clearly visible on Prochazka’s shirt — was particularly unimpressed, and cut their ties with him. Others soon followed, and according to reports, he is now considering alternate career choices.

While there are places in the world where riots may indeed be warranted, Vancouver is not one of them. And in this age of hyper-connectivity and voyeurism, the formerly anonymous depths of a violent mob are now cast under the harsh glare of social media for one’s friends, families and employers to view, share and judge.

Future rioters, consider yourself warned. Your mom and your boss are watching.