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Police investigate video of transphobic hate incident on Hamilton bus

WARNING: This story contains details that readers may find disturbing and offensive.

Hamilton police are asking witnesses to come forward after seeing a video of a Hamilton man hurling transphobic and racist insults toward passengers on an HSR bus.

Police issued a news release on Tuesday about the three-minute video after CBC Hamilton asked the police service about it a day earlier. It also said the incident was reported via the service’s online reporting tool by a third party in another province.

The video, posted online Monday, appears to have been filmed from inside an HSR bus as it approached the Lawrence Road entrance of Gage Park.

The person recording the video appears to be a 42-year-old Hamilton man named Chris.

He regularly livestreams on YouTube and other social media platforms. His channel has numerous videos of him getting in heated confrontations with other people around the city. 

The transphobic tirade that’s gone viral is only a snippet of a now-deleted livestream that broadcast on Monday.

CBC Hamilton has viewed the video but is not publishing it to protect the others in the video — who have not been identified and did not appear to consent to the recording — from further harm. 

Streamer insults and threatens riders

In the video, Chris is sitting on an HSR bus headed toward Gage Park’s Festival of Friends. He had also livestreamed at the festival for the past few days.

“I don’t know what this goofball, weird, transformer looking fool is laughing at,” Chris says, pointing toward a passenger seated in front of him.

“Does anyone love you?” responds the rider, seemingly in defence. 

Chris could be heard mocking the people he is filming, asks the rider what their pronouns are and insults the rider some more.

“You’re deflecting because nobody gives a s**t about you,” the rider responds to Chris in the video.

A man standing
In the livestreamed video, Chris threatens riders on an HSR bus after hurling transphobic insults at them. (Mr. Bum Tickler/YouTube)

Chris tells the rider to “get off the bus and say that to me” before threatening to hit the rider and making more transphobic comments.

“If you’re a man, I’ll smack you out,” he says in the video.

Chris then starts to insult another rider for the next minute or so of the video.

He then looks at a third rider, who is a person of colour, and makes a racist comment, suggesting the rider “go back to Pakistan.”

As Chris begins to exit the bus, he accuses one of the first two riders of kicking him.

“Do it again, motherf****r,” he says as he holds a clenched fist to the face of one of the riders.

“I’ll kick your f***ing head off,” he says while exiting the bus and starts walking into Gage Park, swearing some more.

Streamer discusses rant in separate video

In a separate livestream not long after the incident, Chris said he ended the stream, made the video private and will likely delete it, calling it an “insurance policy on myself.”

“If I keep the stream going when I’m like that, you guys will just keep amping me up,” he said to his small group of viewers.

Chris said it’s a “rare” encounter and “not my proudest moment” but said he only made the video private to avoid being flagged by YouTube, adding he had no concerns about breaking the law.

“I did go a little bit hard. I noticed after that stream, I lost two [subscribers] … it is what it is, for all my local Hamiltonians, if you can’t handle s**t like that, then get off this channel,” he said.

“I’m sorry if that content bothers you but if it’s any consolation, it bothers me too. I don’t like being like that … I don’t know why I got so triggered,” he said.

He didn’t answer emails from CBC Hamilton and didn’t acknowledge comments from CBC Hamilton to reply to the media requests in one of his live chats Monday evening.

Mayor calls video ‘reprehensible’

The video comes as Hamilton has seen a record number of hate crimes.

In 2021, police reported 108 hate incidents (87 of which weren’t considered crimes), a 35 per cent increase from 2020, but the figure is around average when compared to past years.

Newly released Statistics Canada data also shows the country saw continued increases in the rates of various criminally harassing and threatening behaviours. There were 2,073 reported hate crimes in 2017 and last year saw 3,360 nationally.

The number of reported hate crimes related to sexual orientation in Canada has more than doubled between 2017 and 2021 according to the stats, jumping from 204 to 423 respectively.

Hamilton police say they’re urging any victims or witnesses to contact Hamilton Police Hate Crime Investigator Sergeant Rebecca Moran at 905-546-5511 or Crime Stoppers.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger also encouraged people to come forward, calling the incident “reprehensible.”

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