Canadian Comic Stands Trial for Offensive Joke

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Canadian Comic Stands Trial for Offensive Joke 

February 27, 2016 – Montreal comedian Mike Ward testified this week before a Human Rights Tribunal regarding a comedy bit from 2012 about Jeremy Gabriel, a young man with Treacher Collins syndrome, a disease which causes facial disfigurement. Several years prior, Gabriel had been flown to Rome to sing for Pope Benedict. In his standup set, Ward said that at first he was happy that Gabriel was getting so much attention for his papal visit….

“But now, five years later, and he’s still not dead.… Me, I defended him, like an idiot, and he won’t die.”



According CBC News, Gabriel said Ward went too far in his jokes about him. He said the jokes hurt his confidence and his career and led to intimidation at his school – he is asking for $80,000 in damages from the standup. Gabriel testified in front of the tribunal saying:

“It was horrible during all those years to endure, to be a teen, to be a successful artist, with all those comments, with all those laughs. So I wanted to say that it’s not acceptable for me and for my family. And I think for the entire society too. When we make a joke about someone, about a disabled person, we can laugh, we can make comments, but we always have to do that in full respect.”

Ward stated:

“It wasn’t offensive for me, but it was for certain other people. And I think you should be allowed to shock people. I don’t think the social deab3276-f7ff-40ff-9d97-0264d40e05c2_JDX-1x1_WEBjustice warriors should censor everything….Comics are supposed to do comedy. And especially if you’re a dirty or edgy comic like I am. People who come see me are over 18. That’s what they paid for. And I’m happy to see I’m getting support from comedians.”

Quebec comedian Derek Seguin, one of the many comics at the hearing on Wednesday said the case is of “high interest to all comedians.” According to Sequin:

“The kid was trying to become a public figure. He has to accept the consequence of becoming a public figure. I mean, if Donald Trump don’t want to be made fun of, then stay out of the public eye. But is Donald Trump going to be able to sue me for my Donald Trump joke?”

Sequin continued, “It wasn’t meant to hurt the kid. It was meant to make people laugh, which it did, hundreds of thousands of times.”

Ward is being represented by Julius Grey, a prominent civil rights attorney, who has argued this week that the comic operated “within the established norms of comedy, and the case against him represents an affront to freedom of speech.”

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8 thoughts on “Canadian Comic Stands Trial for Offensive Joke

  1. lol, If this kid wins I quit society… lol Does Michael J Fox sue every person who does a parkinsons joke about him… Did MJ sue people who joked about him diddling little kids…No one has sued Nicole Arbour yet… I agree with the comics here lol.. If you wanna be a public figure and in the lime light… be ready for the pros and the CONS of the situation..

  2. Fucking even canada is going back to the stone ages. Dont know about his face but he has some fucking beady ears and you cant trust fuckers with beady ears….

    1. Anyone can open a lawsuit, he hasn’t won yet. Question the sanity when the verdict is in.

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