Dear CBC Ombudsman,
On the evening of January 7, 2015, the CBC comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes accosted American actor Bill Cosby as he was leaving the Centre In The Square theatre in Kitchener. Bill Cosby is a controversial figure at the moment, so it’s fair game for the show to approach him for comment; that said, the CBC has the responsibility to act with dignity.
The CBC crew approached Cosby as he was exiting the back of the theatre. Butt yelled out to Cosby making a joke out of recent rape allegations saying “congratulations on your first show in 2015, way to start off with a bang- hope it was consensual this time Billy”. Next, after yelling out a few other random comments, Butt looks into the camera saying, “Ahh, joke raped! Old Billy got joke raped”.
It’s not unknown to the CBC -most Canadians don’t consider rape jokes to be funny- this is an issue you’ve covered in some depth. Rape jokes are even less funny just weeks after Canadians learned about failures in the CBC’s management structure that allegedly allowed a violent sex offender free reign over the corporation’s female staff.
It’s profoundly wrong for any organization embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal to make jokes about rape- at least doubly so for our country’s national broadcaster. Equally, though I’m inclined to believe the allegations against both Cosby and Gomeshi, it’s disturbing to see our national broadcaster convicting people before they’ve had their day in court. I’m disappointed.