A member of Canada’s House of Commons apologized on Wednesday for taking a nude photo of one of his colleagues during a Zoom call, an episode that sparked mockery, anger and calls for an investigation after the image has circulated widely on social networks.
Lawmaker Sébastien Lemire, a member of the Bloc Quebecois, admitted to taking the photo of William Amos, a member of the Liberal Party of Quebec, when Mr. Amos appeared naked on Zoom during a legislative session last week. Mr Lemire said he did not know how the photo ended up on social media.
Mr Amos said he put on his work clothes after jogging and did not know his computer camera was on. Although other lawmakers connected to a private Zoom call may have seen Mr. Amos standing naked between the flags of Canada and Quebec, the video was not released publicly because Mr. Amos was not speaking at the time. .
Speaking to the House on Wednesday, Mr. Lemire took responsibility for taking a photo of Mr. Amos.
“I would like to apologize to the House for breaking the rules by taking a photo of an MP on April 14,” said Mr. Lemire in French. “I personally apologized to him, but I also wanted to do so publicly, to him personally, to his family, to his colleagues and to anyone I may have offended. I would like to say, in conclusion, that I have no idea how this photo made its way into the media.
It was not immediately clear what action, if any, the House would take in response to Mr. Lemire’s recognition. After Mr. Lemire’s remarks, Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House, thanked Mr. Lemire and said, “I will come back to the House with my ruling.”
A spokesperson for Mr Lemire said on Wednesday lawmakers would have no further comment. A spokesperson for Mr Amos said Mr Amos would not comment because the speaker was considering an investigation.
After Mr Amos’ photo was posted on social media, jokes quickly followed, including those from other lawmakers.
“When we called for more transparency, we should have been more specific,” Garnett Genuis, a Conservative MP, wrote on Twitter next to the photo.
But other lawmakers have said they were furious that someone took the photo of Mr Amos while he was naked and then someone uploaded the image to social media.
Canadian law prohibits the publication, distribution or making available of an “intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image has not given consent to such behavior”.
“Taking a picture of someone changing clothes and naked and sharing it without their consent could very well be criminal,” Pablo Rodriguez, the head of government in the House of Commons, said last week in a session from the room. “Did the person who took the screenshot think about the ramifications of their actions?” Have they thought about the member’s family, children, friends and the fact that the Internet is forever? “
Mark Holland, the chief government whip, was among those calling for an investigation, saying the photo was released “a terrible violation“And a” potentially criminal act “.
“We need to know who is responsible for leaking non-consensual footage from a private video stream,” he said in a statement last week. Mr. Amos “made an unintentional error; his screen was on while he was dressing, ”added Holland. “It could have happened to any of us.”
Mr Amos said last week that he was “very unfortunate that someone shared, without my consent, a photo in which I was changing my clothes”.
“This photo was from a video feed to which only MPs or a very small number of employees had access,” he said in a statement. “No one deserves to suffer such prejudice. I expect the Speaker of the House of Commons to conduct a thorough investigation.
Mr. Amos also apologized to his colleagues.
“I made a really unfortunate mistake today and I’m obviously embarrassed by it,” he said on Twitter last Wednesday. “My camera was accidentally left on when I put on work clothes after jogging. I sincerely apologize to all of my colleagues in the House. It was an honest mistake + it won’t happen again.