Reader discretion is advised!

by Emilie Victoria on March 16, 2015 - 7:55pm

Very recently, MTL blog snapped a picture of a homeless woman and man doing sexual favours in public in place des arts metro. Synden Hope-Johnsten, the editor of this ‘article’ post a picture of the incident and poking fun at this woman and man. The metro is not the place to do such things, but I personally pass these people every day, for I work in Place des Arts metro. Finding this obscure article and picture, I hardly find this ‘article’ to be news at all, if anything these people need help. I see manny vagabonds in place des arts metro, I see and hear this woman in particular screaming at the top of her lungs at men “I don't do crack no more.” From what I hear and see, these people spending the cold winters in the place des arts quarter either suffer from a metal illness or have had a long history of drug abuse. These people need not to be humiliated and posted about online, but helped. As a citizen of Montreal, and seeing this woman almost everyday, I decided to comment on the article, stating that these aren't just random citizens of Montreal and that these people don't need to be exploited and made fun of but to be helped. As later that day, I got a reply from ‘Lisa SB’ claiming that there is nothing wrong with these people, and questioning how i could possible know anything about the people. As an apparent crisis intervention worker, Lisa SB, doesn't quite know what she is talking about, quoting me and poking at me in her comments , when I was only trying to state that these people need help and not to be exploited as such and that I have known and seen these people quite often. 

See the full article and comments section here.


Ever since I started working down town 2 years ago i have seen many homeless men and women trying to make their home within the metro stations on cold nights. Obviously this needs to be changed and there are some organizations in down town Montreal that can the homeless with drug abuse, metal illness, provide food and shelter and also help get them off the streets and integrate into society. 


I completely agree with you! People should not be taken advantage of by exploiting them for human interest or the joke of the day. Mission Hall is an organization that helps with those that are homeless as they have a dental clinic that works with McGill, they have a food bank, shelter, education options for learning french, as well as, training people to get a job and become independent. It's extremely sad to read stories like this where people are humiliating an other without a full story or understanding of the people. If ever you want to volunteer, I believe Mission Hall would be perfect as you seem to be quite passionate and caring towards others. Here's the link for more information.

I absolutely agree with you. I think it is wrong to poke fun about homeless people because, as you said, these people might have a heavy story, whether it is with drugs or mental illness. They probably have never had any help whatsoever to counter their problem, and instead of writing an unnecessary article, it would have been important to act out and help them.
One of the organizations that are available in Montreal for homeless people is Old Brewery Mission, where they work with homeless people, providing them with Emergency services with giving basic necessities such as food and clothing. They have a program for people with mental illness in order to reintegrate them back into society.
Here is the direct link to the organization.

I definitely agree with you. When first hearing the story from my friend, I couldn’t believe that something like that could happen. Curiosity struck me, so I did some searching myself to see if this had actually happened. At first, when hearing it, I found it a little humorous, but when reading the article on MTLBlog and seeing the picture, I recognized the poor homeless lady, I immediately felt guilty for laughing. I myself have seen her at Atwater metro, physically fighting other people, while people around her were just laughing at her and filming her. A person should not be taken advantage of, especially an individual who is disabled. It is gross to see how word spread around so quickly, and even grosser how many people saw this situation as a joke instead of seeing it as a severe case that should be dealt with. Instead of spreading this story for the sake of a laugh, it should be spread for the sake of raising awareness of our cities growing homelessness rate.
The St-James Drop-In Centre offers a safe and supportive environment to those who are marginalized and/or homeless. It has catered to people struggling with issues related to homelessness, mental illness and addiction. Offering basic services like hot meals, access to showers, and clean clothes; also providing counselling, crisis intervention, monitoring of medication and assistance with welfare. Not only this, but St-James also helps with the finding of housing, they accompany people to medical appointments and liaise with outside agencies such as legal services, hospitals, rehabilitation programs, shelters.
Heres a link:

I like your article, the issue you talk about as well as your opinion, which I agree with. As a Montrealer who has also seen this woman in the metro, I find it shocking to see such a distasteful photograph of her on MTL blog. I believe that the editor’s goal was to gain profit from this article and I find that the condition of the individuals in the photo, the exposure of the woman’s physical appearance and the high chances that they have mental disabilities (and are thus being exploited) present an ethical dilemma. First of all, I find that the article on MTL blog disrespects the couple in the photo, because they clearly did not give their consent to be photographed, let alone be published for the entire city to see. I believe that a person in the editor’s position should follow the ideas of rationalism in order to proceed with similar situations. In this case, the photographer should have asked permission before taking out his/her camera. Second of all, the article exposes the woman’s physical appearance (many Montrealers including myself can identify her in the metro) partaking in a humiliating act in public. From a rational perspective, the photographer could have taken a farther shot without exposing her face, or could have completely shadowed her face instead of her eyes only. Finally, the readers do not get any information about the people being photographed. We do not know if they are affected by mental illness or how they have reached this point in their lives. I find that street photographers give themselves the right to capture pictures of homeless people without their consent, but would they do the same for the average person? Homeless people are human beings nonetheless, and should not be portrayed in such a degrading manner for any purpose.