Comedian Mike Ward ordered to pay 35k+ in damages for offensive comedy

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kropotkin1951

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:

So if Ward had incorporated Rehtaeh Parsons into his act, while she was still alive, that would be fine because you know people should not be ruled by their feelings and he should have the right to harass anyone he pleases.

Is there any light visible between "it's fine" and "he needs to come up with $35,000"?

The amount of the fine is irrelevant to the naysayers. It seems to be that it is that he can be fined at all that is the problem.  

6079_Smith_W

But there is a difference between saying "it's fine" and saying he should be sanctioned for it.  And I mentioned at least twice upthread that the amount of the fine was a big part of the problem. In my very first post, in fact.

But really, the only significant part of this for me is whether Ward actually did cause cause him to be bullied. Whether I think jokes about the disabled, about women, about LGBT people, about non-whites are a good thing (and really, I make my decision there based on the joke), I don't think they should be illegal. 

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

But really, the only significant part of this for me is whether Ward actually did cause cause him to be bullied. Whether I think jokes about the disabled, about women, about LGBT people, about non-whites are a good thing (and really, I make my decision there based on the joke), I don't think they should be illegal. 

Jokes about any group on your list is not illegal unless it is hate speech. We are talking about the targeting of specific human beings not groups of people.

6079_Smith_W

Yes, I agree but if Gabriel's disability had not been a factor there would have been no case at all.

We can ridicule Honey Boo Boo as much as we want, so long as it doesn't cross into something that might wind up with a defamation suit or a harrassment charge.

And the outrage in this thread is definitely in part about the fact it concerns disability.

You raised the question of what the line is for us; I explained where it is for me.

Mr. Magoo

Seems to me that the only joke about a disability was referring to Gabriel's hearing aid as a subwoofer.

Notwithstanding that, it seems that Treacher Collins Syndrome is a disability in the same way that a portwine stain (i.e. large and prominent birthmark) is.  If we want to be accurate, we need to be discussing stigma, not disability.

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Jokes about any group on your list is not illegal unless it is hate speech. We are talking about the targeting of specific human beings not groups of people.

Ah, I see. So Ward can mock, insult, hurt, degrade every minor who suffers from Jérémy's disability with impunity - but if he singles out one person, he violates human rights legislation.

If I misunderstood your point above, please set me straight.

 

 

kropotkin1951

Unionist wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Jokes about any group on your list is not illegal unless it is hate speech. We are talking about the targeting of specific human beings not groups of people.

Ah, I see. So Ward can mock, insult, hurt, degrade every minor who suffers from Jérémy's disability with impunity - but if he singles out one person, he violates human rights legislation.

If I misunderstood your point above, please set me straight.

No you did not misunderstand. Human rights are rights of the person. I have never heard of a class of people filing a complaint. The fine was based on the harm caused to the individual.

6079_Smith_W

A person needs to bring forward a complaint, but the alleged discrimination doesn't necessarily have to be directed at a specific person, at least not in Saskatchewan:

http://news.nationalpost.com/holy-post/human-rights-commission-to-look-a...

http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/human-rights-complaint-about-c...

 

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

A person needs to bring forward a complaint, but the alleged discrimination doesn't necessarily have to be directed at a specific person, at least not in Saskatchewan:

http://news.nationalpost.com/holy-post/human-rights-commission-to-look-a...

http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/human-rights-complaint-about-c...

He claimed he was directly discriminated against. The case if anyone is interested contains a good analysis of the state of the law as it relates to the saying of prayers at a public function. It did not go to a hearing but was dismissed at a preliminary stage.

http://saskatchewanhumanrights.ca/pub/2016/20160414_SK-12_043_Dismissal.pdf

6079_Smith_W

Whatever he claimed, the fact the commission accepted to hear him indicates that an action doesn't have to be directed at a specific person to be potentially discriminatory.

And chief commissioner Arnott said in a public statement (which he released because of the very public nature, and misinformaiton around this case) that a general practice of reciting prayers at civic events is contrary to the code.

http://centreforinquiry.ca/ashu-solo-vs-city-of-saskatoon-and-randy-dona...

So committing a discriminatory act directed at a specific person is not a requirement.

Also, according to this statement the maximum financial penalty here in SK is $10,000.

 

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Whatever he claimed, the fact the commission accepted to hear him indicates that an action doesn't have to be directed at a specific person to be potentially discriminatory.

And chief commissioner Arnott said in a public statement (which he released because of the very public nature, and misinformaiton around this case) that a general practice of reciting prayers at civic events is contrary to the code.

http://centreforinquiry.ca/ashu-solo-vs-city-of-saskatoon-and-randy-dona...

So committing a discriminatory act directed at a specific person is not a requirement.

Also, according to this statement the maximum financial penalty here in SK is $10,000.

Strangely after reading this case I believe you are wrong. But then it wouldn't be the first time you read things into an article that aren't there, to prove a point. The complainant was there and complained on that basis that he was directly discriminated against. My point was in the context of the Ward case. Of course if I put up a sign in my business that says No Indians Allowed it does not have to name a specific First Nations person to be discriminatory although a First Nations person would have to make the complaint and likely test the policy by trying to get served. If I tell a really racist Indian joke it has to be directed at an individual before the Ward case's analysis would be relevant. 

Quote:

 I act as a volunteer on the City of Saskatoon Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Committee, which is an advisory committee to Saskatoon City Council, and attended the banquet in this role. I have reasonable grounds to believe and do believe that the promotion of Christianity above other religions and creeds by the Mayor’s Office and the City of Saskatoon by conducting Christian prayers at municipal events, such as the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet, discriminates against me, and others who do not share the Christian faith. 

http://saskatchewanhumanrights.ca/pub/2016/20160414_SK-12_043_Dismissal.pdf

6079_Smith_W

But kropotkin, you said above "but if he singles out one person" as if that determines what is and is not discrimination. It does not.

It is a significant factor in the Ward case obviously, since Ward was making fun of Gabriel's appearance. But you were taking issue with my point, which was more general. And really, we are getting off on a tangent here, because I was just explaining where the lines are for me. The gist of it is, I think a "No Indians Allowed" sign in front of a business SHOULD land someone in front of a tribunal. Am I mistaken?

In any case, our chief commissioner cited prayer at a municipal event as an example of an act not directed at a specific person which would be in violation.

(edit)

To clarify, I was speaking to your assumption about what "the naysayers" see as important here. Not the Ward case.

kropotkin1951

Read the case that you are talking about. It starts out explaining the teaching role that includes telling people generally what constitutes discrimination so that municipalities and others do not discriminate. 

Anyways I don't want to play your game of semantics where you get to speak in generalities that are somewhat right and people you are discussing things with are subjected to a different standard, all designed to prove the same point over and over. So I will concede the point you make regularly, you are the smartest and most insightful poster on this board and are never wrong on any point.

6079_Smith_W

Can we un-throw up our hands and  back up for a second? I'm not generalizing. I am referencing this specific claim:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The amount of the fine is irrelevant to the naysayers. It seems to be that it is that he can be fined at all that is the problem.  

That isn't true.

If you want, go back and read my very first response to this. It is post #1:

Quote:

I think it is good that there is going to be an appeal, not because I think he shouldn't have faced some sort of censure (specifically in treating a child this way), but because this ruling, and the size of the award, and the fact that it was done by a tribunal, leaves a lot of things hanging in the air.

So no, we aren't all asking for absolute freedom for anyone to say whatever they want. But I do think this case needs a closer look.

And I didn't respond by insulting you or claiming I know know better or know everything. I simply explained what is important to me here.

 

 

Pondering

This isn't the United States. Free speech is not an absolute.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mike-ward-comedian-human-rights-t...

He cites the 1988 landmark Supreme Court decision in Irwin Toy Ltd v Quebec, which outlines the types of speech that do enjoy absolute expression.

These include speech that aims at truth, speech that contributes to social and political decision making or speech that is an expression of self-fulfillment. 

Ward's jokes had to meet one of these conditions in order to qualify for free-speech protection....

Hughes adds that Ward's jokes don't raise questions of public interest. Given that, they don't qualify for protection. 

With that conclusion, Ward's case is lost. His jokes were found to have discriminated against Jérémy and aren't considered to be protected speech.

At that juncture, the only thing left for Hughes to do was determine the extent of the damages.

6079_Smith_W

Did anyone say it was?

But again, seeing this as a slam-dunk over the question of self-expression is the point some of us are making. It's easy to make that dismissal if it is something that offends you.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Did anyone say it was?

But again, seeing this as a slam-dunk over the question of self-expression is the point some of us are making. It's easy to make that dismissal if it is something that offends you.

So under which aspect of free speech does Ward's words fall under?

It isn't about being offending. It's about being victimized over something you have no control over. Ward did not target disabled people in general. He specifically targeted Jeremy and his mother neither of whom are political figures. Jeremy was a public figure but he was also a child publically ridiculed for his disability. Children should be protected from that. 

Ward would also have been fine if he were just some joe on the street. He is a man with a large audience therefore had the power to harm Jeremy and that is exactly what he did.

6079_Smith_W

As satire, it could fall under the first or third points. I think it is an important enough matter for a number of reasons, including the large fine, and the question of if it even meets the bar for discrimination, that it should be looked at by a higher court.

But to repeat: no one here has said there should be no limits on speech.

 

voice of the damned

I'm curious about this notion of "contributes to social and political decision making" as a criterion for protecting speech.

Suppose Ward had said "Gotta love that Pope. He won't do anything to protect altar boys from being raped by priests, but goddam it, if you're kid with a disease, he's got all the time in the world to hear ya sing! Jesus Christ, the kid's not even dying, he's just ugly!!"

That would be okay, because it's commenting on a social issue, ie. the church's mishandling of pedophiliac priests, and maybe the way in which(some might argue) supporting the disabled is an easy, no-cost way to bolster your humanitarian credentials? Even though Jeremy himself would probably be euqally offended in either case.

6079_Smith_W

And clearly there are limits to that protection too.

I am sure Doug Collins felt his columns contributed to social and political decision-making. The B.C. Human Rights Commission felt otherwise.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Jeremy was a public figure but he was also a child publically ridiculed for his disability. Children should be protected from that.

I'll ask again:  shouldn't that be written into law then?

We do it for all sorts of other laws.

I don't even totally disagree.  But "well, everyone should just know..." isn't how laws are written, and it's not how they should be interpreted.

I have not written for a while. However this thread continues to mix up opposition to ideas and discrimination; specifically the rights of this child and his family to be free from discrimination.

In Canada as individuals we have a right to live free from discrimination. This case is not about discrimination against people with disabilities in general, nor is it about deframe any particular group of people. It is about saying words about this particular child's disabilities. If you had said the same things about a fictitious person, or people with disabilities in general, I doubt the Tribunal would have ruled that his words crossed the line into a discriminatory act. The words become discriminatory action because the targeted private individual was subject to the discriminatoy words exclusively because he is a person with disabilities.

Hate speach is only illegal if it aims to insite to action, or is connected to action. It is a very difficult charge to prosecute. Slander is also hard to prove because the test is saying a falsehood about a person while knowing it is false. If I say Shartal is a drug dealer who sells drugs in nighclubs it only becomes slander when it can be proved that I knew that this was not true. If I can say that when I said that about shartal I believed it to be true, it is not slander.

On a related issue most human rights cases can be taken to courts either as constitutional cases or as actions in Tort. However this takes a lot of money and Tribunals are free.

6079_Smith_W

Magoo,

When it is a case of "it depends", as it often does, no. It doesn't help to write it into law.There have been a couple of examples upthread.

Even with a good law, sometimes it really doesn't help. Like this time:

The cartoon openly defied a publication ban, and standard practice in cases of crimes involving minors.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
When it is a case of "it depends", as it often does, no. It doesn't help to write it into law.

Then why do we have any child-specific laws?

Couldn't we just let judges "go with their gut", and defendants deal with that?

To be honest, if there were no child-specific laws, I probably wouldn't suggest this as the first one.  But when we think an injury to a child is greater than it would be to an adult, we seem to be able to put pen to paper.  What's the problem with doing the same here, if it's important enough to give Ward a penalty of this size because of it?

6079_Smith_W

Because some things are important enough that they should be codified.

I think that penalty is way out of line, so I'm not the right person to answer your question, but I still think the fact Gabriel was a child had some effect here (especially on the question of bullying), even though there is no law.

I even think it is a good thing sometimes that a person's status as a child should be taken into account, especially when it comes to bullying, or being impressionable. I am not saying it should stand in this case. But generally speaking I think it should be considered, depending on the circumstances.

 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Because some things are important enough that they should be codified.

Er, isn't that what *I'm* saying?

If it's important, write it into law.

If it's not, no defendant should suffer extra for it.

6079_Smith_W

No, the point you are pressing is that if something isn't absolute, then it shouldn't factor in in any way, and that isn't how things work.

And even though there are plenty of unfair biases based on that when it comes to race and gender, it isn't even how things SHOULD work. Because there are also many ways in which it is valid.

Victimizing a person who is more vulnerable IS worse, and should be considered an aggravating factor. But you can't always break it down to a black and white or percentage on a graph.

We have gone around this before. I don't think it is going to change.

<p> "Writing it into law" is a very bad idea unless the intention is to create a new offence. In real life the contexts of an individaulas actions are too numerous to list. Law by definition is always blunt as it is expected to cover everyone. The put it in law, regardless of context, is exactly what is wrong with mandatory minimums. It is also one of the reasons they are being struct down. It is important to remember even how the charges are charactrised is often a discretionary becision by a Crown. The majority of charges in the Canadian Criminal Code are hybred offences. This means they can be either a summary charge (small) or an inditable offence (big) depending on the context of the specific case. <p>

voice of the damned

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And clearly there are limits to that protection too.

I am sure Doug Collins felt his columns contributed to social and political decision-making. The B.C. Human Rights Commission felt otherwise.

 

Well, I don't think that holocaust-denial should be a criminal offense, and I'm guessing the courts don't either, otherwise Collins would have been charged with promoting hatred, not taken to a human-rights commission.

And since I regard speech cases at the HRC as basically an attempt to get softball hate-convictions, I guess I don't approve of the BC ruling, or indeed the fact that the case was brought there to begin with.

I don't think Collins columns(from what I know of them) contributed much, if anything, to "social and political decision making", in the same way that I don't think BANANAS CURE CANCER OVERNIGHT headlines in the Weekly World News contribute much to medical decision making(and in fact, can do a lot of serious harm if believed by the gullible). But they are still "part of the discussion"(albeit a rather useless part), and I don't think it's a good idea to give either historians or doctors a veto over what can be published about their respective fields in the vernacular press. (Peer-revewed journals are another story, of course.)

6079_Smith_W

The holocaust denial accusation was dismissed, and it was not a criminal charge. He was found guilty of anti-semitism in another complaint. The fine was $2,000.

My point is that contributing to social and political decision-making isn't an absolute shield from being found guilty.

But again, who gets to decide what qualifies?

 

 

Boze

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Who gives a fuck about the minutia. Fuckface Ward is abusing a disabled person. For shame. We need to realize that our disabled friends need protection.

And I don't like the tone of the conversation.

Will you stand for the disabled? Or are they not worthy of us progressives defending them?

FUCK

I will defend nobody's right to monetary compensation for having their feelings hurt or their dignity impugned - in fact, I will viciously mock and ridicule anyone who thinks they are so entitled. It has nothing to do with disability. The law is not meant to give redress to every form of injury. Just because something is morally abhorrent does not mean that the law should give two shits. If this were a case about a comedian pointing at a specific kid in his audience and saying "Hey, look at that BLACK kid! Fuck he's ugly, everyone point and laugh, thank god we don't have too many of those types around here" I would still defend the comedian's right to free speech, but that's all I would be defending. I would not be defending his speech. Defending someone's right to say something abhorrent is not the same as defending what they are saying!

Kropotkin, to your example about Raeteah Parsons, yes it should absolute be "alright" in the sense of "not punishable by law." It would perhaps be helpful if we could keep the concepts of "behaviour that is bad" and "behaviour that ought to be legally punishable" separate, because they are separate. 

Mr. Magoo

Not intended as a spelling flame, but with regard to Rehtaeh Parsons, it's just Heather spelled backward.

kropotkin1951

Boze wrote:

Kropotkin, to your example about Raeteah Parsons, yes it should absolute be "alright" in the sense of "not punishable by law." It would perhaps be helpful if we could keep the concepts of "behaviour that is bad" and "behaviour that ought to be legally punishable" separate, because they are separate. 

I gather you believe that causing harm to others is alright. Your entitled to that opinion. The concept I prefer is that if you cause harm then you get to pay and not hide behind the "right" to inflict verbal abuse as some sort of greater good. Behaviour that causes harm should aways be actionable in some forum otherwise the bullies get to rule.

6079_Smith_W

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Behaviour that causes harm should aways be actionable in some forum otherwise the bullies get to rule.

How about this forum? That would be fun.

 

Boze

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Boze wrote:

Kropotkin, to your example about Raeteah Parsons, yes it should absolute be "alright" in the sense of "not punishable by law." It would perhaps be helpful if we could keep the concepts of "behaviour that is bad" and "behaviour that ought to be legally punishable" separate, because they are separate. 

I gather you believe that causing harm to others is alright. Your entitled to that opinion. The concept I prefer is that if you cause harm then you get to pay and not hide behind the "right" to inflict verbal abuse as some sort of greater good. Behaviour that causes harm should aways be actionable in some forum otherwise the bullies get to rule.

I am not sure why you are intent on attributing such a belief to me. I can defend someone's right to say something without defending what he is saying. Just because I think something is wrong, or even harmful, does not mean I believe it should be punishable. I do not believe that causing harm to others is alright. However, I don't believe it's safe or wise to empower the government to adjudicate on matters of non-quantifiable harm. I oppose hate speech laws not because I believe hate speech has any sort of merit, but because I do not trust judges to decide where legitimate speech ends and where hate speech begins, if it isn't actually inciting violence. I don't want to see it made illegal to mock Jean Chretien's facial paralysis, but that doesn't mean I would defend or endorse such a joke.

How do you define "cause harm?" Cheating on your significant other can cause harm. Breaking up with somebody in a cruel, heartless manner can cause harm. Telling somebody that you love them in order to sleep with them can cause harm. I could argue that a bad roommate sneering at me in contempt every day for months causes me real grief and frustration. But should any of these things be actionable? It is not my intention to say that any of these things are "alright," but I would not want to live in a society that made them illegal.

You fight bullies by empowering people and teaching them to respect themselves. Bullies prey on the weak, those without self-assuredness. At the end of the day, the only person who is in control of how you feel about yourself is you. Of course it is wrong to try to cause people feel bad about themselves, but not everything that is "wrong" must be illegal.

Not that what Mike Ward did was any kind of bullying. It was a joke in bad taste.

kropotkin1951

Let me guess, you would want to play the part of Q.

swallow swallow's picture

Ward's crowdfunding campaign now at $37K - more than he's been ordered to pay to Jérémy Gabriel . With that and all the tickets he'll sell as he complains he's not allowed to be a bully, Ward will be making a handsome profit off this whole affair. It's not about free speech really, it's about capitalism. 

[url=http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/teachers-letter-criticizing-c...'s "free speech" campaign encourages bullying in schools, teacher says[/url]

[url=http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/don-macpherson-mike-ward-a... audience for Ward's cruel humour[/url]

Boze

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Let me guess, you would want to play the part of Q.

So, I say I don't trust the courts enough to support the prosecution (or persecution) of heinous, offensive acts, and you assume that I must naturally want to sit in judgment myself. My whole argument is anti-authoritarian.

Boze

swallow wrote:

Ward's crowdfunding campaign now at $37K - more than he's been ordered to pay to Jérémy Gabriel . With that and all the tickets he'll sell as he complains he's not allowed to be a bully, Ward will be making a handsome profit off this whole affair. It's not about free speech really, it's about capitalism. 

[url=http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/teachers-letter-criticizing-c...'s "free speech" campaign encourages bullying in schools, teacher says[/url]

[url=http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/don-macpherson-mike-ward-a... audience for Ward's cruel humour[/url]

One can hardly blame Ward for trying to capitalize off this. Blame the commission. People are giving money to Ward because they agree with what he is saying about the commission's judgment - it's bullshit. No comedian should be fined for telling a joke, no matter who the target is. That resonates with people because it speaks to a very simple principle - freedom. Mike Ward's freedom to be an asshole, school bullies' freedom to say mean things, and Jeremy Gabriel's freedom to rise above it or not rise above it.

I want bullying taken much more seriously by schools and teachers than it currently is, but that doesn't mean I want more coercion. I want problems solved with reason, argument, and compassion. The biggest problem with bullying when I was growing up was that teachers either looked the other way or openly encouraged the bullying, and in fact the entire school system encourages bullying. A school is ultimately a place full of people who don't want to be there and who are not in control of their lives. It is a prison, and it encourages prison culture.

quizzical

6079_Smith_W wrote:
kropotkin1951 wrote:
Behaviour that causes harm should aways be actionable in some forum otherwise the bullies get to rule.

How about this forum? That would be fun.

LaughingLaughing

6079_Smith_W

swallow wrote:

Ward will be making a handsome profit off this whole affair. It's not about free speech really, it's about capitalism.

But he is raising money for an appeal, not to pay any fine. They aren't cheap, especially if they wind up going all the way to the top.

Never mind that comments like that (and saying that he is just doing it for the publicity) could be taken as slander, if someone was in a mood to squelch free speech just because someone says something defamatory, we should really wait and see what happens to that money before we pass judgment.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Boze wrote:

You fight bullies by empowering people and teaching them to respect themselves. Bullies prey on the weak, those without self-assuredness. At the end of the day, the only person who is in control of how you feel about yourself is you. Of course it is wrong to try to cause people feel bad about themselves, but not everything that is "wrong" must be illegal.

Not that what Mike Ward did was any kind of bullying. It was a joke in bad taste.

 

I understand your position taken. I find that more acceptable for adults. This was child abuse. I believe children need extra protection.

 

You said the only person responsible for how you feel is you. You fail to take into account humanity. We don't do this to children and call it some freedom balliwick.

 

You fight bullies by taking away their power.

 

The meek shall inherit the earth.

 

 

 

Boze

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Boze wrote:

You fight bullies by empowering people and teaching them to respect themselves. Bullies prey on the weak, those without self-assuredness. At the end of the day, the only person who is in control of how you feel about yourself is you. Of course it is wrong to try to cause people feel bad about themselves, but not everything that is "wrong" must be illegal.

Not that what Mike Ward did was any kind of bullying. It was a joke in bad taste.

 

I understand your position taken. I find that more acceptable for adults. This was child abuse. I believe children need extra protection.

 

You said the only person responsible for how you feel is you. You fail to take into account humanity. We don't do this to children and call it some freedom balliwick.

 

You fight bullies by taking away their power.

 

The meek shall inherit the earth.

Not with the state they won't, because they don't control it, but those who do are happy to let the meek think that they do. Precedents like this are far more likely to benefit the strong at the expense of the weak. Today it's about a insulting a disabled kid, but what might it be about next time?

I agree, you fight bullies by taking away their power, not by taking away their rights. You take a bully's power away by showing him he cannot hurt you - you take a bully's power away by ceasing to give it to him. For someone to hurt your feelings, you have to give them that ability. You can take it back. People have the right to be jerks to one another, and to insult one another - even children. Mike Ward was not accused of child abuse, he was accused of violating Jeremy Gabriel's "dignity," which basically means he was accused of insulting him. I agree, children need extra protection, but the only kind of "protection" anyone needs from insults is love. If a comedian's words cause a young man to contemplate suicide, point the finger at the young man or at his parents before you point it at the comedian. In life, you will have to deal with people who are not nice to you, and there usually will not be an authority figure you can turn to for redress, nor should there be, unless your rights are actually violated. You do not have a right to a life free from ridicule or insult - nobody has that right any more than anyone has a "right" not to be lied to, or be cheated on, or have their heart broken. And in any case I cannot see how anybody can put a dollar amount on dignity (or how $35,000, while very nice I'm sure, is in any way apropriate compensation for the harms that Gabriel alleges he suffered).

voice of the damned

Quote:
The meek shall inherit the earth.

Not if a certain German philologist gets finished with them first!

Quote:
The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it.

What is more harmful than any vice?—Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak—Christianity....

Of course, it could plausibly be argued that Nietzsche was using shock rhetoric not as a literal call to extermination, but as a provocation to get the reader to question the power dynamics at work in traditional Christian concepts of compassion. Whether a human-rights commission would take all that into consideration, I do not purport to know.

wage zombie

Boze wrote:

No comedian should be fined for telling a joke, no matter who the target is.

Oh so now it was just one single joke.

kropotkin1951

Boze wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Let me guess, you would want to play the part of Q.

So, I say I don't trust the courts enough to support the prosecution (or persecution) of heinous, offensive acts, and you assume that I must naturally want to sit in judgment myself. My whole argument is anti-authoritarian.

I posted this in response to 6079's post above yours that suggested we use this forum. You will note the timestamps. The only problem with not trusting any courts is what kind of dispute resolution system do you propose. Without a functioning judiciary most societies have ended up with the rule of the best armed and nastiest. Of course given our capitalist system it makes sense that he should have the right to make a living off of mocking people with disabilities. If they don't like it they should just become able bodied. If they refuse to take that little step then they are truly just whiners.

swallow swallow's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

swallow wrote:

Ward will be making a handsome profit off this whole affair. It's not about free speech really, it's about capitalism.

But he is raising money for an appeal, not to pay any fine. They aren't cheap, especially if they wind up going all the way to the top.

Never mind that comments like that (and saying that he is just doing it for the publicity) could be taken as slander, if someone was in a mood to squelch free speech just because someone says something defamatory, we should really wait and see what happens to that money before we pass judgment.

If you think saying this is all about capitalism is potentially slander, I'm surprised. A lot of things are all about capitalism - which doesn't maek everyone particiapting in the capitalist system a profiteer, obviously. 

This is from one of the articles I linked above: 

Quote:

Ward, who performs in English as well as French, boasted that the publicity from the case has been worth far more than the $93,000 he said it had already cost him in legal fees, making him famous internationally. Last May, it helped him get voted by the public as Quebec’s comic of the year.

Despite his website’s boast that his last tour grossed more than $5 million in Quebec alone, he made a crowdfunding appeal to help pay his legal fees.

The crowdfunding appeal, in my opinion, is about Ward's brand, not about paying legal fees. He himself has said he's well able to pay the fine. 

I think we need to be aware that issues of free speech are, like so much else, embedded in capitalism. It also has implications on things like bullying - as the teacher in the other article I linked tries to explain. A tribunal ruling against Ward has a chilling effect on speech seen as harming others; an exoneration would have the reverse effect. There's the social good of free speech, and the social good of protection from bullying. They need to be balanced, and the free-speech absolutist position, while having a lot to recommend it, might benefit from considering the effect on bullying, for instance. 

6079_Smith_W

I don't think it is something that would seriously wind up in court. But technically, until he spends that money it isn't accurate to say he is profiting from it.

I do think your comment is fair as opinion; the editorial I posted implied something similar. But I also think someone who was inclined to take offense and had a good enough lawyer could potentially haul it into court, which is why I qualified it. It was more a comment on the opinion that he caused harm. Just because someone thinks it is a breach of the law doesn't mean that is the case. Why is it the end of the world if he calls someone ugly, but there is no problem with accusing him of abusing other people's charitable acts?

Secondly, there is a big difference between gross income and take home pay, after you settle with all the arenas, ticketmaster, marketing, advertising, the bus driver, and so on. But even so, court costs aren't cheap, and to repeat, based on what he has said, this does not seem to be about paying a fine for him, but rather a potentially long and costly court battle.

You think this is all about him wanting to make money? Fair enough, but until we see there is no evidence to that effect.

Issues of free speech are embedded in capitalism? That's a can of worms. I agree that it can be a barrier to it, specifically because you cannot fight in court without money,  but if you are implying the principle is meaningless, I'd say that is nonsense.

 

 

 

Boze

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I posted this in response to 6079's post above yours that suggested we use this forum. You will note the timestamps. The only problem with not trusting any courts is what kind of dispute resolution system do you propose. Without a functioning judiciary most societies have ended up with the rule of the best armed and nastiest. Of course given our capitalist system it makes sense that he should have the right to make a living off of mocking people with disabilities. If they don't like it they should just become able bodied. If they refuse to take that little step then they are truly just whiners.

I am reminded of Tyrion Lannister's advice to Jon Snow: "Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." Jeremy Gabriel is able-bodied. He has a disfigurement. He also has a diagnosis. To be perfectly honest, I don't think he looks that bad. I have seen less attractive human beings. Is this about disability, or about the general principle of punching down? I already have made it more than clear I don't approve of Mike Ward or his routine. Whether he's making money off it shouldn't matter.

You're being sarcastic because you think I have no compassion for people who are mocked by bullies. I'm the first to stand up to someone who is being cruel, but when the person he's being cruel to says "Let's make him pay" or "Let's tell on him" or "Let's use force to shut him up" I will also be the first to counsel restraint. Cruelty is not necessarily a violation of your rights and you are not entitled to restitution just because somebody was mean to you.

I am not saying we should trust no courts. I am saying that we should spell out as clearly as possible what guidelines courts should use, and we should hold judges to high standards, and we should be mindful of how precedents might be used in the future, erring on the side of greater freedom and less power for the court, especially where speech is concerned. We have laws to prevent assault, murder, theft, vandalism, slander, threats. We do not have laws to prevent general cruelty or meanness or to protect anyone's dignity or honour. We have laws to protect their rights. If you have a right to dignity, then anyone who treats you in an undignified manner - say, flipping you the bird, or sleeping with your spouse, or calling you a wanker, or a fascist pig, or a dirty red, or what have you - is violating your rights. I don't want to see us go down that path. I don't want people having to watch what they say all the time and I especially don't want to see the rich and powerful using precedents like this to silence their critics, and I see that as a far more dangerous use of this than the weak and marginalized being protected from bullies.

 

kropotkin1951

Boze wrote:

I don't want people having to watch what they say all the time and I especially don't want to see the rich and powerful using precedents like this to silence their critics, and I see that as a far more dangerous use of this than the weak and marginalized being protected from bullies.

So we can't stop people with disabilities from being bullied in public and caused demonstrable harm because it might help rich people. Last time I looked being rich was not a protected class of people under any human rights code including Quebec's.  But I guess you never know that might change and any minute now a government will be tabling a bill to include rich people as a disadvantaged class of people in need of protection.

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