Toronto Comedian, Vancouver restaurant ordered to pay $22,500 for insults against lesbian

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    Apr 23, 2011 7:24 PM GMT
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    Canadian stand-up comic, Guy Earle, will face a human rights tribunal hearing in British Columbia

    Photograph by: Handout photo from Guy Earle, Handout photo from Guy Earle

    VANCOUVER -- A Toronto comedian and Vancouver restaurant owner were ordered to pay $22,500 by a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on Thursday after the standup comic hurled a torrent of sexual insults at a woman and her same-sex partner during a comedy show three years ago.

    Amateur standup comedian Guy Earle has been ordered to pay $15,000 to Lorna Pardy, 32, who filed the complaint last year after she and her lesbian partner were taunted at Zesty’s Restaurant on Commercial Drive on May 22, 2007. Restaurant owner Salam Ishmail has been ordered to pay her $7,500.

    Earle told The Vancouver Sun Thursday night he will appeal the decision.

    Pardy filed a complaint in 2007, claiming she was discriminated against on the basis of her gender and sexual orientation in contravention of the Criminal Code. She said Earle directed homophobic and sexist insults at her when she was a patron and he was the master-of-ceremonies at an open mike comedy show at the restaurant.

    In his ruling, tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams said Earle repeated vulgar language in public and attacked Pardy’s identity and dignity as a woman and a lesbian.

    “His attack showed every sign of being calculated to inflict as much damage as possible, in as short a time as possible, on her greatest vulnerabilities,” he wrote in the decision.

    Geiger-Adams ordered Earle and Ishmail to pay a total of $22,500 for lost wages and for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect.

    Earle’s lawyer Jim Miller had argued during the hearing that his client was entitled to freedom of artistic expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Earle had also claimed that the couple heckled him while he was on stage and that Pardy threw a drink in his face.

    Pardy denied she was heckling him and said Earle pointed at them and told the audience they were sitting at the “dyke table.”

    She said Earle went on to describe lesbian acts involving her and her partner that shocked and embarrassed her.

    She said she booed him in an attempt to shut him up and this caused him to leave the stage and come to their table where he loomed over her, swearing and asking her derogatory questions.

    Pardy testified Earle’s tone was “angry and condescending” and she felt threatened.

    She told the tribunal she didn’t want him near their table so she picked up a glass of water and threw the water in his face.

    As she was leaving, she said Earle intercepted her, took the sunglasses from her head, broke them and threw the pieces on the floor.

    In an email to The Sun Thursday night, Earle said “the findings are not factual and the events are laid out wrong.

    “I never said anything hurtful to them or treated them badly after I got off the stage,” Earle wrote. “I didn’t say the things they said I said. They harassed me out the door to my car and out into the street.”

    Earle called Pardy’s accusations “bold-face lying for the sake of a cash grab” and said he and his lawyer will take the matter to B.C. Supreme Court.

    Charles Demers, a Vancouver-based comedian, writer and political activist, said the case sets an unsettling precedent for comedians.

    “This ruling is going to have an impact on professional comics who are now going to have a harder time starting up in new venues,” Demers said.

    “They’re going to have a harder time getting restaurants and bars to start up comedy nights because now [the restaurants and bars are] going to be worried that they’re on the hook.”

    But while Demers is concerned about free speech as it relates to his profession, he said he considers himself “as much invested in the fight against homophobia as in the fight for comedy,” and wouldn’t want to align himself with someone making hateful, homophobic comments.

    “I’ve never been heckled by someone and said, ‘What’s their sexual orientation, or what’s their racial origin?’” he said.

    “I’ve dealt with hecklers in ways that are not hateful to whatever group they visibly come from.”

    Donovan Mahoney, a Vancouver-based comedian and promoter, said the topics of race and sexual orientation are only successful when approached intelligently.

    “If you say something mean to somebody, it doesn’t matter what format it’s in, it’s mean, and people see through that,” Mahoney said. “Mean spirited stuff, I’ve seen people do it and I kind of cringe, because in my mind, comedy is very smart. A good comic is smart.”

    Comedic performer Ruven Klausner said while Earle might have offended and embarrassed Pardy, he doesn't believe Earle violated her human rights.

    “He might have violated her sense of entertainment, but we all have to endure that sometimes when we go to comedy shows,” Klausner said with a laugh.

    “I just believe it's one of those situations where, if you don't like it, leave.”

    Klausner also found it worrisome that the case could discourage business owners from having live entertainment.

    Gregg Scott, who did standup for several years, said it seemed Earle’s biggest mistake was that he wasn’t funny.

    “For a good comic, a heckle can be an opportunity for creating new comedy,” Scott said.

    “If the response was an attack, or perceived as one, there still are a number of approaches to take before slandering — [such as] being funny.”

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Comedian+Vancouver+restaurant+ordered+insults+against+lesbian/4656851/story.html#ixzz1KNLsKFqs
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    Apr 24, 2011 10:53 AM GMT
    I heard this on a right leaning radio program on Thursday. After the host glossed over the "physical intimidation" part and concentrated on the insult it was not surprising to find most callers were upset. If I had not wondered what he had briefly touched on I may have been a little miffed and yet another stupid human rights ruling by yet another kangaroo court. Instead I was meaning to look up the ruling to see the ruling because he did spend almost two entire seconds touching on the fact that it was not based entirely on her having felt insulted by a comic.

    I am glad that you posted the entire article and have satisfied my curiosity. If the allegations concerning the physical intimidation and altercation are true I have no problem with the ruling- and apparently the tribunal believed the story. Take away the physical aspect and leave only the insults and I would be able to tack yet another stupid ruling onto the numerous other past rulings of these tribunals.

    I always have mixed feeling about bureaucrats entertaining any case brought before them and forcing the defendants to often mount a legal defense when it may not be necessary. On the other hand, they do (occasionally) get something right.

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    Apr 24, 2011 11:07 AM GMT
    I read about this when it first popped up, and following her initial suit, there was a lot of information brought up about the woman making the complaint and the bar where the incident happened. She may be taking advantage of the system.

    The woman is an actress and the venue has been a showcase for LGBT talent for years. Apparently she may have been drunk and even if he made some inappropriate jokes I doubt she was 100% the victim, just from what I read. There were reports that she really was antagonistic and owuldn;t let the issue drop. She immediately called for a boycott of the restaurant and went to the tribunal, probably knowing suing in a real court would get her nothing.

    Even if there is some merit in what she is claiming, it sounds like she is taking advantage of the system to some degree.

    But again, wasn't there. When I go to a comedy club and don't care for the content I leave, I don;t heckle the 'talent'.
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    Apr 24, 2011 11:25 AM GMT
    This is why you keep them in the kitchen.
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    Apr 25, 2011 6:35 AM GMT
    FearTheFall saidThis is why you keep them in the kitchen.


    omg dude. that's just so wrong.
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    Apr 25, 2011 6:36 AM GMT
    alphatrigger said
    FearTheFall saidThis is why you keep them in the kitchen.


    omg dude. that's just so wrong.


    lrn2sarcasm
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    Apr 25, 2011 6:38 AM GMT
    That being said... this business of "human rights tribunals" is little scary. I reckon there is no such thing as "free speech" up in Canada as we have it here in the States.

    I wonder how easily abused the system is for torts - I mean she got over $22,000 out of all that?
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    Apr 25, 2011 6:40 AM GMT
    FearTheFall said
    alphatrigger said
    FearTheFall saidThis is why you keep them in the kitchen.


    omg dude. that's just so wrong.


    lrn2sarcasm


    Hard to distill sarcasm out of that. Even as a joke, it's not really that funny.
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    Apr 25, 2011 1:47 PM GMT
    alphatrigger said
    FearTheFall said
    alphatrigger said
    FearTheFall saidThis is why you keep them in the kitchen.


    omg dude. that's just so wrong.


    lrn2sarcasm


    Hard to distill sarcasm out of that. Even as a joke, it's not really that funny.



    apparently it is FTF who needs to lrn2sarcasm coz that failed.
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    Apr 25, 2011 1:52 PM GMT
    alphatrigger saidThat being said... this business of "human rights tribunals" is little scary. I reckon there is no such thing as "free speech" up in Canada as we have it here in the States.

    I wonder how easily abused the system is for torts - I mean she got over $22,000 out of all that?


    For you Alphatrigger; the following happened in the US:


    ""Michael Richards would like to apologize in person to the gentleman with whom he had the exchange in the club," says the joint statement from PR agent Howard Rubenstein and lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing the African American audience member Richards yelled at and three other black men who were with him that night.
    "Michael has agreed that they will all meet in the presence of a retired judge who will facilitate the meeting and help the parties resolve this matter. All concerned are hopeful that a face-to-face meeting will be constructive and begin the necessary process of healing and closure," the statement says.
    The judge will determine whether Richards should take any other action to resolve the matter, Rubenstein and Allred said Friday.
    A cash settlement could be part of the resolution, said Rubenstein.
    "My client Michael hopes to put it behind him," Rubenstein said."

    Michael Richards aka 'Kramer' to Make Face-to-Face Apology to Audience Member


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,233657,00.html#ixzz1KXhFu5YI

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    Apr 25, 2011 1:56 PM GMT
    OMG that must have been some insult! I better stop insulting my lesbo sister, she may take me to the cleaners lol
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:00 PM GMT
    alphatrigger saidThat being said... this business of "human rights tribunals" is little scary. I reckon there is no such thing as "free speech" up in Canada as we have it here in the States.

    I wonder how easily abused the system is for torts - I mean she got over $22,000 out of all that?


    For sure there is, we have a constitution too and it includes free speech.

    The problem here is that the tribunal isn't made up of Judges to interpret the law properly as it would apply to human rights. If this woman had brought this to civil trial she would have been laughed out, which is why she went to the tribunal, because anyone can sit on these "kangaroo court" type committees.

    She heckles the comic, can't take it when he fights back the only way her can, because he's 'at work'. Throws 2 glasses of water at him and cries discrimination. A real judge would have explained to her that she was really the only person breaking any law.
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:29 PM GMT
    Canadian society is predicated on the Primacy of Collective Rights over Selfish Interest.

    These Tribunals are given the quasi-judicial authority to assess cases where a dispute arises between an individual's right to Speech with another's right to be free from harm or Hate Speech (which has a definition here)

    The harm to the comic in limiting his "right to use "Hate Speech" is far less than the Harm to others (both in the immediate case and by precedent) by his "Right."

    Such questions arise so often in a society where you enshrine such principles that to send them through courts is too costly and takes too long to resolve.

    Thus the Human Rights Tribunal mechanism was created. To label them kangaroo courts just demonstrates ignorance of what they are and how they came into being.

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    Apr 25, 2011 2:33 PM GMT
    kaoi said:

    " anyone can sit on these "kangaroo court" type committees.

    citation?
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:37 PM GMT
    This is called fascism. Nothing else. For anybody who supports this fine, you are a traitor to the western tradition of free speech. You are no worse than the people in Iran who stone homosexuals. There is absolutely no way to defend what this show court has done under any circumstances.
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:40 PM GMT
    Does anyone know what the comedian said? Anything that gets lesbians that worked up is worth knowing icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 25, 2011 2:42 PM GMT
    Apparent not "just anyone" can sit on these Tribunals.


    Must be a member of the bar for 10 years minimum.


    from the Canadian Human Rights Commission website:

    http://www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/NS/index2-eng.asp


    The Member is principally responsible for the adjudication of complaints filed under the Canadian Human Rights Act. In addition, the member contributes to the development of the Tribunal’s policies and procedures for human rights adjudications, under the direction of the Chairperson and the development of training programs for members, to ensure that the best possible adjudication services are provided to Canadians.

    The qualified candidate must have a law degree from a recognized university and be a member in good standing of the Bar of a province or the Chambre des notaires du Québec for at least ten (10) years. In addition, the qualified candidate must have experience, expertise and interest in, and sensitivity to, human rights issues.

    The preferred candidate will have demonstrated experience in the interpretation and application of legislation in a quasi-judicial context as well as demonstrated decision-making experience with respect to sensitive issues. Experience as a member or legal counsel of a quasi-judicial tribunal, or experience appearing before a quasi-judicial tribunal would be an asset.

    The ideal candidate must have general knowledge of human rights law, as well as knowledge of public law, including administrative and constitutional law, in addition to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act and other related legislation. He/she should also possess knowledge of the principles of natural justice and rules of practice followed by administrative tribunals in Canada and a solid understanding of the procedures and practices involved in conducting a quasi-judicial hearing.

    The successful candidate will have the ability to interpret relevant statutes, regulations, and policies and analyse and evaluate complex and voluminous evidence in order to make sound and equitable decisions and recommendations. He/she should also have the ability to work independently and as a team member, be able to conduct proactive, fair and efficient quasi-judicial hearings and have the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

    The chosen candidate must possess high ethical standards and integrity, superior interpersonal skills, impartiality, judgement and tact.

    For both positions:

    Proficiency in both official languages is preferred. Proficiency in other languages is an asset.

    The full-time members of the Tribunal shall reside in the National Capital Region, as described in the schedule to the National Capital Act, or within 40 kilometres of that Region. He/she must also be willing to travel for extended periods of time, to attend hearings and conferences in all parts of Canada.

    The government is committed to ensuring that its appointments are representative of Canada’s regions and official languages, as well as of women, Aboriginal peoples, disables persons and visible minorities.

    The preferred candidates must comply with the Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders and Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders. The guidelines are available on the Governor in Council Appointments Website, under Reference Material at www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca.

    The selected candidates will be subject to the Conflict of Interest Act. Public office holders appointed on a full-time basis must submit to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, within 60 days of appointment, a Confidential Report in which they disclose all of their assets, liabilities and outside activities. For more information please visit the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s website at http://www.ciec-ccie.gc.ca.





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    Apr 25, 2011 2:52 PM GMT
    pdbrainiac saidThis is called fascism. Nothing else. For anybody who supports this fine, you are a traitor to the western tradition of free speech. You are no worse than the people in Iran who stone homosexuals. There is absolutely no way to defend what this show court has done under any circumstances.



    "I do not think that word means what you think it means."


    It is often advisable to understand the Law of the land (especially when talking about a different land with very different values. Remember these are the same kind of laws that gave us equal marriage rights.

    I'll put that kind of "fascism" over yours ( where your Christian funamentalists more closely resemble the worst excesses of Iran than anything in Canada.)

    No one burning Korans or Bibles here.


    How's that free speech going for your equality?



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    Apr 25, 2011 2:55 PM GMT
    Upper_Canadian said
    pdbrainiac saidThis is called fascism. Nothing else. For anybody who supports this fine, you are a traitor to the western tradition of free speech. You are no worse than the people in Iran who stone homosexuals. There is absolutely no way to defend what this show court has done under any circumstances.



    "I do not think that word means what you think it means."


    It is often advisable to understand the Law of the land (especially when talking about a different land with very different values. Remember these are the same kind of laws that gave us equal marriage rights.

    I'll put that kind of "fascism" over yours ( where your Christian funamentalists more closely resemble the worst excesses of Iran than anything in Canada.)

    No one burning Korans or Bibles here.


    How's that free speech going for your equality?






    Repeating this for pdbrainiac. This is what happens in the US..

    """Michael Richards would like to apologize in person to the gentleman with whom he had the exchange in the club," says the joint statement from PR agent Howard Rubenstein and lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing the African American audience member Richards yelled at and three other black men who were with him that night.
    "Michael has agreed that they will all meet in the presence of a retired judge who will facilitate the meeting and help the parties resolve this matter. All concerned are hopeful that a face-to-face meeting will be constructive and begin the necessary process of healing and closure," the statement says.
    The judge will determine whether Richards should take any other action to resolve the matter, Rubenstein and Allred said Friday.
    A cash settlement could be part of the resolution, said Rubenstein.
    "My client Michael hopes to put it behind him," Rubenstein said."

    Michael Richards aka 'Kramer' to Make Face-to-Face Apology to Audience Member


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,233657,00.html#ixzz1KXhFu5YI
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    Apr 25, 2011 3:10 PM GMT
    I fully support the right of every person in the United States of America to stand on a street corner screaming that "Fags are evil and God will send them to hell". If you own a Koran, Crucifix, Flag, Michael W. Smith album, you are free to burn it, spit on it, immerse it in a jar of pee... or read it, preach it, wave it, play it; whatever floats your boat.

    "Hate Speech" is still Speech, and our inherent, inalienable right to free expression deserves the highest level of protection by our government.
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    Apr 25, 2011 3:38 PM GMT
    SportingChance saidI fully support the right of every person in the United States of America to stand on a street corner screaming that "Fags are evil and God will send them to hell". If you own a Koran, Crucifix, Flag, Michael W. Smith album, you are free to burn it, spit on it, immerse it in a jar of pee... or read it, preach it, wave it, play it; whatever floats your boat.

    "Hate Speech" is still Speech, and our inherent, inalienable right to free expression deserves the highest level of protection by our government.


    I support that too for every person in the United States of America. Thankfully, we have different ways in Canada: your rights end where mine begin.

    That's why we have equal rights in Canada and they don't in the USA.

    The results speak for themselves.

    my boyfriend and I will join the number of married same sex couples next year.

    icon_biggrin.gif



    Hard to argue with the winners of the race when you haven't even crossed the finish line.
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    Apr 25, 2011 4:16 PM GMT
    Upper_Canadian said
    SportingChance saidI fully support the right of every person in the United States of America to stand on a street corner screaming that "Fags are evil and God will send them to hell". If you own a Koran, Crucifix, Flag, Michael W. Smith album, you are free to burn it, spit on it, immerse it in a jar of pee... or read it, preach it, wave it, play it; whatever floats your boat.

    "Hate Speech" is still Speech, and our inherent, inalienable right to free expression deserves the highest level of protection by our government.


    I support that too for every person in the United States of America. Thankfully, we have different ways in Canada: your rights end where mine begin.

    That's why we have equal rights in Canada and they don't in the USA.

    The results speak for themselves.

    my boyfriend and I will join the number of married same sex couples next year.

    icon_biggrin.gif



    Hard to argue with the winners of the race when you haven't even crossed the finish line.



    The "race" is a tie. You have traded one form of tyranny-of-the-majority for another. You may have equal rights for homosexuals and heterosexuals to express their love for each other in a public marriage, but it seems you don't have equal rights for all people to express their personal, political, and religious views in a public space.

    Personally, I see no reason not to support both the right of individuals to marry as they see fit, and to express their personal, political, and religious opinions as they see fit.

    We have common ground in that I am a devoted champion of your phrase "Your rights end where mine begin", which is why no matter how distasteful I may find someone else's opinion, my preference to not hear distasteful things ends where someone else's right to express distasteful things begins, even if their distasteful things are intentionally emotionally upsetting to me.
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    Apr 25, 2011 4:32 PM GMT
    New U-Haul Moving Vans slogan

    "U-Hauls. Not just for a Lesbians second date!"


    uhaul.jpg
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    Apr 25, 2011 5:11 PM GMT
    [quote]The preferred candidate will have demonstrated experience in the interpretation and application of legislation in a quasi-judicial context as well as demonstrated decision-making experience with respect to sensitive issues. Experience as a member or legal counsel of a quasi-judicial tribunal, or experience appearing before a quasi-judicial tribunal would be an asset.

    The ideal candidate must have general knowledge of human rights law, as well as knowledge of public law, including administrative and constitutional law, in addition to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act and other related legislation. He/she should also possess knowledge of the principles of natural justice and rules of practice followed by administrative tribunals in Canada and a solid understanding of the procedures and practices involved in conducting a quasi-judicial hearing. [/quote]

    But they are still not judges who are held accountable for their decisions. People with general knowledge of the rights they think they are defending are not the same as a paid Judge who is going to weigh how this woman thinks she was mistreated vs. the constitutional rights of everyone in the country. That's exactly why she went to the tribunal and not a civil court. She assaulted the guy as soon as she threw her first glass of water at him. The tribunal's decision to award her money for this is a violation of our constitution, and a real Judge would not have made that decision.

    Her character as well should have played into the decision, and it didn't. People are so afraid to look like they are siding against a minority that they won;t just say what's right, and just. That's why these tribunals should be filled with qualified, sworn Judges, people who can be held accountable.

    [quote]It is often advisable to understand the Law of the land (especially when talking about a different land with very different values. Remember these are the same kind of laws that gave us equal marriage rights.

    I'll put that kind of "fascism" over yours ( where your Christian funamentalists more closely resemble the worst excesses of Iran than anything in Canada.)
    [/quote]

    You are obviously much more educated on our laws than I. But equal rights for marriage here was never enacted as a Law. Our Government never passed a bill saying we had equal marriage rights, our PM is on record saying he would enact the Notwithstanding Clause to beat that if it ever came to pass.

    It came about because people fought long through the Court system, trusting that Qualified Judges would weigh their decision against the Constitution, which is exactly what should be happening with these Tribunals.


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    Apr 25, 2011 8:19 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]FearTheFall said[/cite]This is why you keep them in the kitchen.[/quote

    It's also why womens feet are smaller than men's. So they can stand closer to the sink.