We’ve written before about some comedians who won’t play college in this country. Not because colleges are cesspools of lame, politically correct, whiny turd lords, but because… Wait, no that is why (see Jerry Seinfeld Claims Liberal Colleges are Killing Comedy Because…). North of the border? A Canadian comedian was ordered to pay $35000 – by something called the Human Rights Tribunal – over jokes he made during his set.
At least it’s not that bad in America…yet.
Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that comedian Mike Ward must pay Jérémy Gabriel $35,000 for making jokes that violated his rights.
Ward has been ordered to pay the former child singer with disabilities $25,000 in moral damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.
He will also need to pay Sylvie Gabriel, Jérémy’s mother, a total of $5,000 for moral damages and $2,000 for punitive damages.
Jérémy Gabriel, a singer with Treacher Collins syndrome, became famous in Quebec after he was flown to Rome to sing for the Pope in 2006, when he was 10 years old.
Ward became the subject of a complaint made to the Human Rights Tribunal in 2012 for making fun of Gabriel in his comedy show, Mike Ward’s eXpose.
The jokes go back to 2010, when Ward did a bit about “petit Jérémy.”
The plaintiff argued the jokes gravely affected Gabriel’s dignity.
Lemme break that down for you real simple like: Ward mocked someone. In this case, he mocked someone with a disability. In other words, he did what school children do on the playground. Except the person he was mocking? Not on the playground. The person he mocked? A public figure.
In Canada, the Human Right’s Tribunal might call me to task for that Gif. Because “retard.” Also, blackface.
If you’re tempted to to get caught up in the feelings of this, don’t. If you’re tempted to say “it’s mean to mock people, and super-duper extra mean to mock people with disabilities,” don’t. Don’t. Either everything and everyone can be mocked, or no one can. You’re free to disagree and not laugh. You’re free to get hurty about it. You’re free to boo. You’re free to stomp in a rage and write posts about it. See, I never think abortion is funny. Killing an unborn child, then joking about it? It’ll never make me laugh. But NARAL attempted it with a video about abortion. It was an comedic fail. But yes, NARAL or Amy Schumer, anyone, is free to attempt to make light of abortion. It’s just not funny to me. See the difference?
Whether or not it’s right or wrong to mock someone isn’t the point. In this case, Ward mocked a public figure with disabilities. So what? What’s to stop Canada from fining Ward for mocking any other public (or even private) figure for any other reason? Why does the “Human Rights Tribunal” (LOL!) get to decide what’s offensive and what’s not offensive?
See, this is why free speech matters so much. The First Amendment is an American treasure. It’s not a thing in Canada or the rest of the world. If I want to mock someone, I can. Doesn’t matter the reason. I can mock someone for their stupidity, their liberalism (a flavor of stupidity), how they do their hair, the pantsuits they wear, or their gender confusion. Anything. In America we can mock anyone. On the flip side, we can also defend them for any reason. Freedom. It’s a thing here.
Speaking of debating comedy, watch this train wreck.