Students outside of Robarts Library got a surprise last Tuesday, when a Naked News correspondent began interviewing people topless on St. George Street.
Lily Kwan reported shirtless on the sidewalk, with a mic and cameraman in tow. A small crowd of students paused to stare and make comments before walking on.
Kwan’s assignment was for a segment called “Naked in the Street.” For that day’s episode, she interviewed university students about being back at school.
“And what better place to choose than U of T?” said Kwan.
Naked News is an Internet porn website. Every day, it broadcasts a news program while male and female anchors strip for the camera.
Naked News has a huge college fan base, Kwan said. Its audience typically ranges from 18-30 years old, she added.
Fedor Soldatov, a first year computer science student, was approached by Kwan. She asked him questions like, “What do you want to be after you graduate?” and “What would be the one item you would bring to a deserted island?”
Her final question was, “If you were to be killed by one animal, what would it be?”
“A lion,” Soldatov replied as he steeled himself and tried hard not to look down. “So I won’t have to suffer too much,” he added.
Soldatov said it was unusual to be questioned by a topless woman.
“It was weird… but I didn’t really mind…. And I wasn’t looking!” said Soldatov.
As Kwan was reporting her segment, she said she and the cameraman were not confronted by U of T Police.
“We are law-abiding and take (being topless on the street) into consideration,” said Kwan.
There were no reported complaints about the incident, according to Sam D’Angelo, operations manger and staff sergeant of the U of T police.
Kwan said that they’re out to have fun, and being at U of T offers a change of pace.
“Students here are great…everyone is conscientious about issues such as tuition…they really do care…they are the future of tomorrow,” said Kwan.
Reporting topless is a very empowering position, although some others may not think so, Kwan said.
“Some people think we are using this image as sex. I see it as very empowering,” Kwan said. “Also, being an ethnic Chinese woman and within Asian culture (throughout history) came a lot of oppression…I am sending out the message that you are female and you can do what you want. I see that as a positive image.”
Photograph by Alexander Zivojinovic