Thu, 08/25/2016 - 05:09

Posted by Belinda Alzner on June 13, 2012

Ezra Levant can’t say “fuck your mother” on air, even in Spanish, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled.

In a December 2011 segment, Levant was giving his point of view on Chiquita Brand International’s decision to boycott oil from Alberta’s oil sands. Levant is a staunch proponent of the Alberta oil sands, having coined the phrase (and the lobby group) “Ethical Oil” to describe them – meaning, Canada boasts a comparatively better environmental and human rights record than its OPEC counterparts.

Levant’s 10-minute editorial against the company’s ethical record and its vice president Manuel Rodriguez concluded with Levant saying: “Hey you…yeah you, Manuel Rodriguez. Chinga tu madre.”

Or, to translate to English: “Go fuck your mother.”

The CBSC received 22 complaints and six requests for an investigation into Levant’s conclusion of the segment. “The complainants noted that the phrase is one of the harshest insults in the Spanish language and that it was utterly inappropriate for Levant to directly insult an identified individual in this manner,” the ruling said.

Sun News Network responded to the complaints, as they are required to, and “acknowledged that Levant had ‘intended to be both profane and offensive [... by] ‘calling out’ the person he was attacking by name’ but that broadcasting rules allow for the expression of strong opinions on any topic,” the ruling stated.

The network also responded by providing alternative meanings for the “chinga” part of the phrase, based almost entirely off of a blog post in the Vancouver Sun by Mario Canseco, which the CBSC called “an attempt to obfuscate the facts and avoid addressing the complainants’ concerns about the use of the specific phrase in the precise context of the December 22 broadcast.”

The CBSC ruling requires the broadcaster to announce the decision once during prime time within three days of the ruling and once more within seven days of the decision during the time in which the episode was broadcast. Meaning, Levant himself must read the ruling on air. He spent some time this afternoon on Twitter, publicly contemplating whether he would do so during his show this evening:

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.