Please help me fight the BCHRC (update: & BCSC) - Stand Up Comedy is the Canary in the Coal Mine of Free Speech...
We must uphold this last line of defence.

Recent Developments... OUCH!

My comment on the recent BCSC Review

I am thoroughly disappointed and disturbed by the BCSC review of the BCHRC process against me. I was very confident that the court of the land had the sense to see the fundamentals of this case but I under estimated the power of bad publicity. I was never drawn into a "he-said-she-said" debate. I believed in the inherent ridiculous nature of this claim to begin with. In fact, I have never offered a true defense of my words or actions because I never thought it necessary, as again, my lawyer and my focus has always been on constitutional issues. We are fighting for artists no matter what I said or am proposed to have said.

Truthfully, my complainant and her companions were not "singled out due to their sexuality" nor were they "intimidated". They were rude and obnoxious and threatened me physically, off stage. Their behaviour was unsocial when I was trying to defuse tension after a debacle of a comedy show - it happens. I never called them the 'c' word - my rebuttals were always in the form of jokes - with punchlines and setups; 1,2 and 3.

Now the SC of BC has decreed that I am a liar. I am currently, 6 years, virtually unemployable - I am challenged daily to provide for my family. I have been painted a homophobic monster, which I am patently not.

Obviously, we have to fight this - appeal it - whatever it takes. This is a dangerous precedent to set. The bottom line is that any words uttered by a comic on stage can be taken out of context (or even fabricated) and put before an hrc member and if that member finds the material offensive, it will be deemed discriminatory. I have said it before, "standup comedy is the canary in the coal mine of free speech"; when they start locking up the comics, you are next. Ironically, I am fighting for the very tenants that support the expression of alternative view points and lifestyles.

I played the part of an edgie comedic host to unruly, aggressive, unchecked hecklers. I gave them three warnings and they persisted, at which time, I opened up on them. They were verbally abusive to me, said horrible things about my mother, talked about attacking my neck with a broken beer bottle and made many more crass comments designed to hurt and belittle me. At one point, they followed me out to the road and yelled at me demanding to know what my annual salary was. Apparently, the complainant's girlfriend was "more of a man" than me because she earned more money. It was a juvenile, tactless and hateful display of alcohol driven bravado of which I have been 6 years paying for in reputation. I am a perceived liability.

When I started into them, one of the audience turned to her friend and said, "ya know, we could take him to the hrc for saying this stuff..." Imagine what kind of response that is going to illicit from a hardcore, socially driven, idealistic comic. Of course, I used this opportunity to try and educate them about the ethics and mechanics of 'free speech' at a comedy show, in the style of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin - "no holes barred commentary". I was out-maneuvered by a wall of pathological ignorance. It can happen to the best of us, admit it. People, who haven't seen me perform, call me a hack comic - I was upholding the essence of the principles of authentic urban stand-up. In a live setting, my retelling of what I actually said, gets a laugh EVERY time - but not in BC.

In fact, I didn't discriminate at all. I actually, in jest, accused them of not really being lesbians - I suggested they were "drunk - in college - and experimenting" - same material you would hear at any comedy club. Had this show been in a proper comedy club, instead of a pub, these patrons would have been thrown out after the third warning and none of this would have never happened.

This was conceived as a quick cash grab that has ballooned into a battle of principle. Legal advisors will recommend paying a fast settlement over lengthy court battles but we could not let this transpire based on issues of freedom of speech, especially concerning the speech of a comedian on stage, during a comedy show and especially in response to hecklers. I will continue to fight. I have no choice in the matter; these results are against everything I rant for and have taken away my ability to contribute an artform that I have loved since I was a toddler. I'm dazed and momentarily at a loss but the war wages on and we must not loose it, no matter how many battles it takes.

I am unclear, at this stage, what my appeal process will be or what legal representation or tack I will employ. I am open to suggestion and comments of support. Email me at Time is off the essence - we have a limited time to file our appeal.

Posted by Admin on June 28, 2013


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