Human rights complaint over comic's lesbian remarks
Updated Thu. Jun. 26 2008 11:13 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A Toronto comedian facing a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing says offensive comments he made to two Vancouver lesbians were simply an attempt to stop them from heckling him on stage.
"I don't hate anybody based on their sexual orientation, or whatever, but I do hate hecklers and sometimes I get a little vehement," Guy Earle says in a radio interview posted on YouTube.
Earle said he was hosting a weekly open-mic night in a restaurant on March 22, 2007 when the two women moved up to the front of the audience and began swearing at him.
Earle said he asked them to stop and be quiet, but they refused. That's when he responded.
"I said, 'Come on, you're fat and ugly -- you're not even lesbian,'" the comedian said, adding he then made some remarks that had to do with oral sex and the use of a sex toy.
The exchange wasn't recorded but Earle admits that his response was brutal -- a tirade of derogatory comments targeting the women's sexual orientation.
"If anybody has seen my comedy, don't heckle me -- I get rude," Earle says in the interview.
The comedian says his comments were simply jokes, but most of the audience members left and started booing him.
When Earle got off the stage and walked past the women, one of them splashed a drink in his face.
Earle says he got back up on stage later to say goodnight and that when he walked past their table a second time, the same woman splashed another drink in his face and then stood in front of him as if she wanted to fight.
"I lost it for two seconds, and this is the part I do apologize for ... I pulled her sunglasses off her head, and right in front of her face, I broke them in half," says Earle, who admits he was "half-drunk" on vodka.
The comedian said when he showed up at the usual time the following week, there were picketers outside the restaurant, some holding signs that read, "Hate speech, not free speech."
Earle says Canadians are too politically correct.
"They pissed me off so I said some rude things. Does that mean I should go to court because ... they were based on some kind of minority or discrimination or something-something?"
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will decide whether Earle's comments, which the complainant Lorna Pardy claims were "homophobic," violated the Human Rights Code on the basis of her "sex and sexual orientation."
Earle is now looking for a lawyer and he's hoping his newfound fame might help pay his legal bills. He's planning a comedy fundraiser for next month.
A preliminary decision released this week says both parties are far apart in their recollections of the incident and the amount of alcohol involved.