CBC's use of the n-word on air was 'clearly offensive'

Believe it or not, this isn't the first time the CBC has found itself mired in an n-word controversy.

CBC's use of the n-word on air was 'clearly offensive'
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The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council made the ruling after commentators and a host of the Radio Canada show Le 15-18 in August 2022 used the n-word four times in a six-and-a-half-minute segment.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, the show was dedicated to a “Concordia University students’ study of the book Negres Blances d’Amerique. The book was first published in 1968 by Pierre Vallières, an FLQ bomber, and described by the Canadian Encyclopedia as 'a Marxist analysis of Québec history.'

“A 1971 English translation was entitled White N—s Of North America in which Vallières compared the lives of Québecers to enslaved Africans in pre-Civil War America. 'To be a n—r in America is to be not a man but someone’s slave,' he wrote.”

The CRTC decision called the repeated use of the term “gratuitous”:

While the “N-word” is a discriminatory term that should not be used to refer to Black people, the Commission acknowledges that the word was not used in a discriminatory manner in the context of the segment, but rather to quote the title of a book that was central to a current issue.

However, the Commission acknowledges the current social context related to racial issues and recognizes the need for broadcasters to be very vigilant in dealing with potentially offensive language. Therefore, broadcasters are responsible for ensuring that all necessary measures are in place to mitigate the impact of a statement that may be perceived as offensive by its audience."

Accordingly, the Commission requires the SRC to provide a public written apology to the complainant.

This is not the first n-word controversy at the CBC in recent years. Flagship conspiracy theorist Wendy Mesley was suspended and then fired from her own show, The Weekly — which as the name indicates was broadcast weekly, on Sundays, but watched almost never — after using the n-word in two separate staff meetings.


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