B.C. group’s International Women’s Day event hit by racist, sexist ‘Zoom bomb’

The Richmond Women's Resource Centre's International Women's Day event was hit with a sexist attack on Saturday. Richmond Women's Resource Centre

A B.C. women’s group says a virtual attack on an event it was holding for International Women’s Day only proves there’s work to do to ensure women feel safe both on and offline.

The Richmond Women’s Resource Centre was “Zoom bombed” on Saturday during its virtual International Women’s Day celebration and fundraiser, with racist, sexist, ageist comments, images and sounds.

Read more: Queen’s University lecture hacked by ‘Zoom bombers’

Zoom bombing refers to a disruptive intrusion into a video conference by internet trolls.

“Suddenly there’s some pornography that was coming on, music that was coming on, and then individuals, their names were getting hijacked and we were getting some extremely rude and terrible things being said to different people,” resource centre president Tammi Belfer said.

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“It’s not acceptable, and I don’t want anybody, anybody to ever feel that this is normal behaviour. And I will never accept that as normal behaviour.”

Click to play video: 'Staying safe and secure on Zoom' Staying safe and secure on Zoom
Staying safe and secure on Zoom – Apr 15, 2020

The group says it had taken every measure it knew to protect the security of the virtual event, but that the attackers somehow got through anyway. Its board is looking into how to further secure future events to prevent a repeat.

Staff were eventually able to regain control of the event, and thanked speakers and participants for their perseverance.

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Belfer said the incident only proves that the group’s mission of standing up for women is as badly needed as aver.

“At first we were distressed and shocked,” she said. “And then were angry and motivated to say, you know what? Our work is important.”

International Women’s Day is Monday, March 8.

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