Comedian cancelled from two venues for 'offensive' jokes

Ben Bankas says the venues backed out of scheduled shows after receiving backlash.

Comedian cancelled from two venues for 'offensive' jokes
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A comedian says two different venues have scrapped shows after scheduling him due to the 'offensive' nature of his routine. Ben Bankas, a Toronto-based comedian who hosted shows in public parks during COVID-19 lockdowns, shared the news on social media.

“Cancelled from @AeolianHall less than 24 hours after posting the ticket link,” Bankas wrote on Twitter, joking that Dr. Jordan Peterson and Canadian anti-woke rapper Tom MacDonald “agreed to give him anti-racism training so I'll know how to do comedy ‘properly’.” 

The Aeolian Hall, a London, Ont., venue defines itself as a “safe space” and prominently features a diversity and inclusion statement on its website:

We stand with the Black Community: in London, in Canada and Internationally in calling for an end to anti-Black racism.  We stand with Indigenous Communities believing that reconciliation needs to manifest “Reconciliaction”.  More broadly, all people of colour still struggle in a world with a history of white colonialism.  We will continue to find ways to fight for equity and help heal the wounds from historical injustices.

Violence and systemic barriers against these communities are destructive to our societies moral and ethical fabric.

The Aeolian Hall calls on our friends, supporters and the larger community to resist and call-out racism.

It is not enough to tolerate and accept each other.

Love for our fellow human beings is the only path that promises peace, equality and human dignity.

“We've received some backlash, and it's been pointed out that some of your humour is past the line in relations to our values as a venue and arts organization,” said a screenshot of an apparent email to Bankas from the venue's production and marketing coordinator.

A second venue in Halifax, N.S., also reportedly found Bankas' comedy to be too offensive for its audience.

“Due to an influx of negative feedback from the members of our community - we regret to inform you that we have to cancel your booking,” read another screen shot shared by the comedian. “As a community cultural centre, we have a responsibility to be cognizant of public feedback.”

Rebel News Mission Specialist David Menzies has reached out to the comedian for more details about the alleged cancellations. Stay tuned in the coming days for a video report on this story.

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