Ezra Levant debates former Toronto mayor John Tory over viral billboard truck

Ezra Levant defends free speech after critics branded a third-party ad played on the Rebel News billboard truck 'Islamophobic.'

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Rebel News publisher Ezra Levant took to local talk radio to push back against a so-called 'Islamophobic' ad that ran on the Rebel billboard truck. Levant joined former Toronto mayor John Tory, who was filling in as a guest host on Newstalk 1010's Moore in the Morning.

"What you've just been talking about is criminalizing people with different opinions," Levant said, having reached out to the show after hearing the discussion about the truck. "That billboard is a different opinion; you might even think it's a rude opinion. You definitely think it's a wrong opinion, got it. And you know what, you could actually be right. But what you've done is said that should be prosecuted as a crime instead of debated."

In response, Tory asserted he would call out "any kind of hateful behaviour, whether it's this ad on your truck or its antisemitism that's going on or anti-black racism or anti-Asian racism [like] yesterday in Ottawa where they were egging the house of an Asian family." 

The billboard ad, which was paid for by a group called Canadians Opposed to the Occupation of our Streets and Campuses and was displayed on the new Rebel billboard truck, went viral earlier this week. Critics branded the advertisement as hateful.

Toronto police Chief Myron Demikw took to social media to condemn the billboard, writing "Let me be clear, all incidents of hate are serious. Everyone deserves to feel safe in our great city. The Service is investigating this incident."

The chief also called on the public to contact police with any information.

Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih, meanwhile, offered a $25,000 bounty for tips leading to the arrest of individuals involved prior to Levant taking public ownership for the truck. 

Levant responded to the bounty, saying "It was me. My truck. Now hand over the $25K. I'll take payment in felafel and shawarma."

On Friday, Levant took the truck through downtown Toronto, eventually arriving at police headquarters to turn himself in for the apparently ongoing hate crime investigation, or to, perhaps, interview Chief Demikw.

"Look, I just want to find out who the hell died and appointed the chief a censor, and why is he going after billboard trucks instead of this insane crime wave that has washed over Toronto on his watch?" the Rebel boss asked inside the building.

If convicted for hate speech, Levant could face up to two years in jail for running the ad.

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  • By Ezra Levant


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