Canada: Ruling upheld against comedian for discriminatory tirade against lesbian
A Supreme Court judge in British Columbia has upheld a tribunal ruling which awarded CAD$22,500 ($14,000) to a lesbian who was insulted by a comedian at a restaurant.
The tribunal awarded the money after it found that comedian Guy Earle, and the owner of Zesty’s restaurant, Salam Ismail, discriminated against Lorna Pardy, after Earle launched a homophobic attack on the woman, back in 2007, reports the Vancouver Sun.
The tribunal in 2011 heard that he began the insults after he saw Pardy kissing her partner. Then, the situation escalated and Earle confronted the woman, pushed her, and broke her sunglasses, the court heard.
Earle and Ismail had challenged the ruling, claiming that part of the Human Rights Code was unconstitutional and that it infringed on their right to freedom of expression.
Justice John Sigurdson, noted the fact that comedic expression was protected, even when in poor taste, but that Earle’s comments were too far removed from the core values of that freedom.
Back in 2011, the tribunal had ordered Earle to pay Pardy CAD$15,000 (£9,350), and that Ismail should pay her CAD$7,500 (£4,650).
Justice Sigurdson said that Earle had exacerbated the effect he had on Pardy, after he lied about the incident in a radio interview.
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