Forced to pay $15,000 for ‘homophobic’ comments, comedian Guy Earle responds (Exclusive)

By | June 25, 2013 at 11:46 am | 80 comments | feature slider, News | Tags:

For the past few years, we’ve been covering the story of Canadian comedian Guy Earle’s fight against a human rights tribunal, who levied a $15,000 fine against him for slinging “homophobic” insults toward a lesbian couple, who repeatedly heckled him throughout his set. Two years ago, Earle was ordered to pay accuser Lorna Pardy the money because of damages she allegedly sustained in May 2007, which is when the show in question took place. I talked with Earle after that ruling and he told me in no uncertain terms that he planned to fight it, and he did. Despite his efforts, however, this week the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the Tribunal’s decision. To say the ruling puts into question a comedian’s freedom of speech, would be an understatement. And a look back on the case’s history only further calls into question the validity of the decision.

In September of 2009 the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the Tribunal should not continue with the proceedings until it was established if they even had jurisdiction for a case like this. The Tribunal ignored the ruling and proceeded anyway, saying they would hear all of Pardy’s allegations and then explore the issue of jurisdiction.

Upon this decision, Earle’s lawyer James Millar walked out of the proceedings, saying the Tribunal was in contempt. And Earle, himself, had never explained his side of the story to the Tribunal, claiming he couldn’t afford to fly back to Vancouver for the hearings — he had since moved to Toronto — and because he was awaiting the birth of his son. The comedian offered to testify via voice or video conference; the tribunal denied his request.

I interviewed Earle on April 23, 2011, right after the original fine was levied. You can listen to the entire thing below. Today, Earle sent a detailed response to Laughspin about the court’s final decision, which you can skip ahead to, below.

Here’s Earle’s response from today:

I am thoroughly disappointed and disturbed by the British Columbia Supreme Court review of the BCHRC process against me. I was very confident that the court of the land had the sense to see the fundamentals of this case but I underestimated the power of bad publicity. I was never drawn into a “he-said-she-said” debate. I believed in the inherent ridiculous nature of this claim to begin with. In fact, I have never offered a true defense of my words or actions because I never thought it necessary, as again, my lawyer and my focus has always been on constitutional issues. We are fighting for artists no matter what I said or am proposed to have said.

Truthfully, my complaint and companions were not “singled out due to their sexuality” nor were they “intimidated”. They were rude and obnoxious and threatened me physically, off stage. Their behaviour was unsocial when I was trying to defuse tension after a debacle of a comedy show; it happens. I never called them the ‘c’ word – my rebuttals were always in the form of jokes – with punchlines and setups; 1,2 and 3.

Now the Supreme Court of British Columbia has decreed that I am a liar. I am currently, six years, virtually unemployable – I am challenged daily to provide for my family. I have been painted a homophobic monster, which I am patently not.

Obviously, we have to fight this – appeal it – whatever it takes. This is a dangerous precedent to set. The bottom line is that any words uttered by a comic on stage can be taken out of context (or even fabricated) and put before an HRC member and if that member finds the material offensive, it will be deemed discriminatory. I have said it before, stand-up comedy is the canary in the coal mine of free speech; when they start locking up the comics, you’re next. Ironically, I am fighting for the very tenants that support the expression of alternative view points and lifestyles.

I played the part of an edgy comedic host to unruly, aggressive, unchecked hecklers. I gave them three warnings and they persisted, at which time, I opened up on them. They were verbally abusive to me, said horrible things about my mother, talked about attacking my neck with a broken beer bottle and made many more crass comments designed to hurt and belittle me. At one point, they followed me out to the road and yelled at me demanding to know what my annual salary was. Apparently, the complainants girlfriend was “more of a man” than me because she earned more money. It was a juvenile, tactless and hateful display of alcohol driven bravado of which I have been six years paying for in reputation. I am a perceived liability.

When I started into them, one of the audience turned to her friend and said, “Ya know, we could take him to the HRC for saying this stuff…” Imagine what kind of response that is going to illicit from a hardcore, socially driven, idealistic comic. Of course, I used this opportunity to try and educate them about the ethics and mechanics of ‘free speech’ at a comedy show, in the style of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin – “no holes barred commentary”. I was out-maneuvered by a wall of pathological ignorance. It can happen to the best of us, admit it. People, who haven’t seen me perform, call me a hack comic – I was upholding the essence of the principles of authentic urban stand-up. In a live setting, my retelling of what I actually said, gets a laugh EVERY time – but not in BC.

In fact, I didn’t discriminate at all. I actually, in jest, accused them of not really being lesbians – I suggested they were “drunk – in college – and experimenting” – same material you would hear at any comedy club. Had this show been in a proper comedy club, instead of a pub, the girls would have been thrown out after the third warning and none of this would have ever happened.

This was conceived as a quick cash grab that has ballooned into a full-on façade. Legal advisors will recommend paying a fast settlement over lengthy court battles but we could not let this transpire based on issues of freedom of speech, especially concerning the speech of a comedian on stage, during a comedy show and especially in response to hecklers. I will continue to fight. I have no choice in the matter; these results are against everything I have worked on and have taken away an artform that I have loved since I was a toddler. I’m grief struck and momentarily at a loss but the war wages on and we won’t lose it, no matter how many battles it takes.

I am unclear, at this stage, what my appeal process will be or what legal representation or tact I will employ. I am open to suggestion and comments of support. Email me at guy@guyearle.ca.

What do you think about the situation, Laughspinners? Sound off in the comments section.

Be sure to subscribe to the weekly Laughspin Podcast on iTunes or on SoundCloud for all the latest comedy news, audio clips and more! Listen to the most recent episode below!

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Pingback: On Hecklers « Patrick S. Tomlinson

  • Biff Humble

    It’s time for a comedian’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense against hecklers law!

  • J

    The worst part of this article is that Guy Earle is repeatedly referred to as a “comedian” not “a guy who was trying to do comedy.” Guy Earle was not a touring professional. I doubt he even made $500 doing stand up in all of 2007. Referring to him as a professional cheapens the entire profession. Stop it.

  • Jace Beleren

    If so many people are confirming that there was some form of physical altercation between them and not just words, why was there no assault charge for either party? I’m not saying anyone’s fully 100% in the right, but at the same time no actual complaints were made other than “verbal abuse.” It wasn’t a comedy club, it was a bar–there was plenty of alcohol going around between the comedians and audience members alike that night and everyone’s judgment was just a tad (or more) impaired. The thing that people SHOULD be up-in-arms about if anything is the fact that we as humans are content to use things like race, gender and sexual orientation as WEAPONS. I implore you all to ask yourself, would the situation be different if Earle was gay? Trans-gendered? Bisexual? This doesn’t come down to an act of discrimination or a pawn for first-amendment lobbyists. This is an issue of common human decency. This is an issue of those who so adamantly strive for equality of all races, genders and sexual orientations and in doing so only isolate themselves further. If you want to be treated as an equal, you don’t get to be “entitled” to damages and special treatment. Because that path is NOT a one-way street: both sides need to do some setting aside of differences, some learning to live and let live, not just in an offstage altercation between a disgruntled comedian and his equally disgruntled hecklers but in the world that we live in and are charged with maintaining. /rant

    • Bilbo

      If you are a member of the crowd and you speak for one second you deserve whatever you get including things that may hurt. If you were an actual performer (Ward Im talking to YOU) then you would understand.

      • Ward Anderson

        I am an actual performer. Have been my entire life.

        But this wasn’t about performers versus audience members. Nor was it about free speech. He wasn’t onstage, he didn’t have a microphone. It was an altercation in the bar. Not a comedy club. A bar. Between a guy upset that people who weren’t there to see the open mic were brought inside when the patio closed. She wasn’t there for the show, and wasn’t “heckling”. She was talking, yes, but it was a restaurant, and she was there before the open mic began. I know we comedians think everything we do supercedes everyone else….but it’s a restaurant FIRST. And attacking patrons isn’t nearly the same thing as shutting down a “heckler”.

        Oh, and a real pro would have been able to handle it better. Simply calling her a “dyke” over and over and over again isn’t impressive, nor is it “handling a heckler”.

        And, all along, I’ve said that no one was in the right. No one handled this well. But to make this guy some example of “free speech” is absolutely wrong.

        Newsflash: Not all performers fall lock in-step with one another.

    • Ward Anderson

      My point all along has been that no one handled this well. And they did not.

  • nigel

    He should counter sue. A lot more damage has been done to him than the two aggressive hecklers. Ps I’m gay.

    • Guest

      How do you counter sue a ruling upheld by The Supreme Court?

      Your being gay doesn’t give you an opinion that supersedes the courts. Just saying.

      • nigel

        obviously things are very clear to you… “Earle was ordered to pay accuser Lorna Pardy the money”. Thanks for pointing out “being gay doesn’t give you an opinion that supersedes the courts.” Not what I said. Anyone with a brain could see that. Just saying.

        • Ward Anderson

          You don’t see the irony in that you insult someone for their lack of brains, yet you don’t understand how suing/countersuing works in the case of a conviction in a court of law?

          • iamtherealgumby

            The supreme court had nothing to do with this fine it was levied by a human rights commission which is not a court of law.

          • Ward Anderson

            The Supreme Court upheld the fine because he lied during media interviews. And most of that money goes to paying fees. So, there you have it.

          • iamtherealgumby

            If this is so, why would the supreme court suspend the hrc decision in 2009.
            Has the jurisdiction question been settled?

    • Ward Anderson

      You can’t counter sue when the courts have ruled against you. The law doesn’t work that way. Anywhere.

      • nigel

        So he can’t sue Lorna Pardy for the damage she caused?

        • Ward Anderson

          No, he can’t. You can’t sue someone once you’ve been found guilty of the thing you are accused of. That’d be like a burglar suing someone he robbed after he was found guilty of burglary.

          TWO COURTS heard this case. TWO COURTS (including the Supreme Court of BC) ruled against him.

          Is it safe to assume that those courts know more about the law (and this case) than anyone here? Likely.

          Lorna Pardy, for the record, didn’t speak one word to the media. Never spoke to the press and kept silent except in court. Earle, on the other hand, went to the media and gave interviews all over the place. So the side we all heard was only his.

          The Court ruled as they did partly because they ruled he lied to the media about how it all went down when he gave those interviews. That didn’t sit too kindly with them.

          I’m not sure why everyone is quick to defend this guy. I’m pretty sure he never would have stood at a table and insulted a couple of men the way he did those two women.

          • nigel

            oh

          • exiene lofgren

            Forgive me for speaking for someone else, but I think Nigel meant Guy could mount a civil lawsuit rather than counter suing. Which he could, as it would be a completely different ‘case’ yet, most likely be thrown out before the judge read half the brief.

          • Ward Anderson

            I see. But he can’t do that, either. This particular ruling shoots that possibility down.

            I understand that, as comedians, we hear “free speech” and are quick to defend. But that’s not what this case is about. It never really was. He spun it to make it seem as such, and we all jumped on board without having the actual story straight.

            (For the record, I defended him at first, too…until I read all about it.)

          • exiene lofgren

            I don’t know Canadian law but in the US people waste millions suing for cases that will never see the light of day. If the laws are similar in Canada then Guy could mount a civil lawsuit, but would most likely be dropped, unless you have an idiot judge willing to hear it out. And when I see this case I don’t think of free speech but our security to do our job and that’s all. But I see your side too Ward.

          • Ward Anderson

            I need to point this out:

            If he’d stayed onstage, with that mic in his hand, I’d still be defending him. It’s that simple. He didn’t. He made it into something far worse and then tried to spin it as an issue about his art and performance. But it never was.

            All he had to to was keep it onstage.

          • exiene lofgren

            I agree with you as that is what a pro should do. I’m just thinking of the legal precedence this can set for us….at least here in the US and it’s not paranoia as our Supreme Court just took away major rights to fight back in the work place.

            Ward, I could see a simple fine of $100 and a slap on the wrist given that she is not totally innocent. But I can’t see the justification for that much money.

          • Retardo II

            saw your act “Im kidding I would never hit my car” line…. priceless

          • Ward Anderson

            Heh. Thanks.

          • Pops

            Ward, just because you say the same thing over and over doesnt make it true. And why do you keep calling yourself a Comedian when you arent.
            I thought one element needed was Comedy. Ive seen your act (on line) and you arent funny. But neither is Earle.

          • Ward Anderson

            Ah, yes…the old “you’re not funny” line when you have no actual argument and cannot debate. Yawn.

          • RIGHTway

            I just finished watching 10 minutes of you! You are very funny! I mean damn good! Now I’m not the type to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass, but you are funny enough to be on some late night talk shows. Have you been, or if not why so?

          • Ward Anderson

            You are very kind.

            But I’ve never had a “Clean” enough act for TV, nor have I ever put together a “TV friendly” set. I should get around to doing that.

            Thanks.

          • suacy

            just because he is a loud asshole doesnt mean he is a wrong loud asshole

  • exiene lofgren

    The amount of money given to this woman is ridiculous. Being banned from an entire providence (British Columbia) is ridiculous. UK markets as well as North American outlets are reporting on this and most articles have reported this in ways that I can’t tell what is the story anymore. Even some of the comments in this section is divided as not all details are agreed upon. Yes, No money should have been given to this woman (I don’t care if she had PTSD) you don’t go anywhere where comedy and booze is involved, make out with your girlfriend (this has been proven)and not have a comic say SOMETHING. This comic also has a rep (onstage and off) that adds something to the mystery. What gets me is that somebody from the UK or N. America will see this and think they can sue one of us as well. I am gay and a comic and the only side I’m on is mine to say anything I want onstage and calm a heckler down without worrying about seeing that drunk jerk in a court room later. US comics used to love playing the UK, Canada and Australia because the PC way of the US didn’t apply. Now, it’s all becoming the same affecting our writing, livelihood and joy of getting onstage.

    • Ward Anderson

      He isn’t banned.

      • exiene lofgren

        Really? He did an interview on Canadian TV where the host said he was. Here’s the link….http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/comedy/source/the-source/fined-for-being-unfunny/914035361001….Again if this isn’t true even though the comic is in this interview it shows (unsurprisingly) that the media is getting facts wrong

        • Ward Anderson

          One of the things that was ruled by The Supreme Court this week was that Earle lied to the media when he did interviews and distorted what actually happened, based on eyewitness reports.

          From CTV: “The judge upheld the award, saying Earle exacerbated the effect on the woman when he lied about the incident during a media interview six months after the confrontation.”

          So, everyone is defending him online (and in the comedy world) based on interviews HE gave. But she saved it for the trial.

          This wasn’t a simple verdict. TWO courts made the same decision. I’m not sure why we all think, based on his interviews on TV, that he’s some defender of free speech. The initial ruling came with a 102-page verdict on behalf of court that outlined the decision and eyewitness reports.

          And we believe him….why?

          I have to think that TWO separate courts, who heard eyewitness reports, might know better than us…people who found out from him giving interviews in the media.

          I’m still trying to figure out why comedians are rushing to defend a guy who berated two women with gay slurs OFFSTAGE and AT THEIR TABLE repeatedly. Would he ever have done this to a table of men?

          He wasn’t being a comedian when he was offstage, without a mic, insulting people to their faces in the audience. He used “comedian” as an excuse to hide what was apparently just plain awful behaviour.

          • exiene lofgren

            I’m not rushing to his side. But after 12 years of doing comedy I’ve seen and heard far worse stories where actual violence took place and comics were on the receiving end. Most of the time it is the heckler’s fault as booze and a lack of knowledge of comedy clubs play into it. I TOTALLY agree that if both parties were men that this wouldn’t be an issue outside of the club.

            Both parties are not innocent, she did get physical first after all when she threw water in his face, and even great comics who never get in trouble sometimes lose their cool. This case is a mess and while Guy did keep the argument going, it’s not worth the 15k he is ordered to pay plus the 7500.00 the owner of the establishment is made to pay as well.

            Granted, in law, defendants getting caught in a lie kills their case, he is not a smart guy, and from what I’m reading, he doesn’t have a great rep in the biz. But his outcome affects other comics. Bad enough some clubs don’t have or use their security well and people’s sensitive nature and the inability to turn off a cell makes our jobs tough. But this case adds a new level of BS to an entire industry and this case is BS.

          • Ward Anderson

            I’ve seen worse, as well. But that’s not a defence. This one DID go this far and DID go to trial. It might suck, but it happened. Just because we’ve seen worse doesn’t mean this one should have been ignored. And, again, we weren’t in court to hear testimony or eyewitness reports. Most people have only heard what Earle said in interviews, the woman in question didn’t give any.

            As for “She threw the drink first”, he was in her face at the table, refusing to leave when asked to do so. A man, in a woman’s face in a bar, refusing to leave. If he weren’t a comic, we’d expect him to get a drink thrown in his face. I’m not saying she was right but, again, if it’d been a man, a drink would have been the least of his problems.

            It seems most people simply hate that she got awarded the money she did. Even people that agree he was wrong don’t like that aspect of it.

            But–again–the court ruled he only made it worse because he went to the media and lied in interviews.

            I’ve said all along that the biggest problem was lack of good management at the restaurant. This could have been handled better long before it got to where it did.

            You know what’s really BS about this case? Amateurs calling themselves comedians and then hiding behind that title when acting like amateurs. And then actual comedians rushing to the defence of someone they’d avoid in an actual comedy club. This guy is no hero. And his problem wasn’t his free speech being violated.

            Was the woman also wrong? Sure. But nothing she did warranted his approaching her table, insulting her, calling her “dyke”, following her out to the parking lot, and generally bullying her the way he did. That wasn’t comedy. It wasn’t performance. If he wasn’t a comedian, but some guy at a bar who berated a woman, refused to go away, and then broke her sunglasses and followed her outside and bullied her some more, would we be arguing about how he was wronged? Or would we say it was a guy in a bar who had several drinks and bullied a woman and yelled gay slurs at her?

            I, too, have been a comedian for a long time. This guy didn’t behave like one. He behaved like an amateur who took out his frustration the wrong way on the wrong person and didn’t know when to stop.

          • Saucy

            this is why Canada and Canadian writers arent funny…. because you actually can make sense of this shit. HRC shouldnt be involved. And the allowing sexual orientation to be brought to court is offensive. I am sure a straight asshole wouldve had the same problem as two gay ones.

          • Kid Icarus

            saucy change your name to ignorance for us eh. Ya hoser

            Canada produces some hysterically funny people. People who
            can match wits with anyone and have inspired and shaped where comedy is today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_comedians

            or wait is your funny like ‘blue collar comedy tour’ style of funny? cause then you’re right… canadians are known to lack insight into the minds of hillbilly audiences. But we are addressing that now… there is an initiative for aspiring comedians in Canada, a kind of exchange program, where they are sent to a hot swamp in Florida, to live in a meth trailer, so they can finally ‘get it’

        • CarlySimon

          THAT’S not a link!
          (Uses Crocodile Dundee voice)

  • Pingback: Exclusive statement from Guy Earle, stand up comic fined $15000 for ‘insulting’ lesbian heckler

  • LonesomeDove

    So, what exactly did he say that was so “damaging” to this person who heckled him and without reason disparaged his mother? What exactly “hurt” her precious feelings?

    • Ward Anderson

      You seem to have taken a side, having not been there at all.

      All the reports from this case state he didn’t “hurt her feelings”. And a poster above was AT the show. He didn’t just say mean things. He walked up to her table and insulted her at length, until it escalated into a big argument. She threw water at him and he broke her sunglasses. Then he went outside into the parking lot and insulted her some more.

      I doubt anyone would like it if someone walked up to a table in a restaurant and insulted their wife, mother, daughter or sister at length…and especially not with slurs about her sexuality.

      • andycanuck

        Here’s what the HRC gave her damages for, “[346] Apart from a “cease and refrain” order, and a declaratory order identifying the impugned conduct as discrimination, the Tribunal ordered the respondents to compensate Ms. Pardy for $320 in lost wages and made an award under s. 37(2)(d)(iii) of the Code to compensate her for discrimination for injury to her dignity, feelings, and self-respect.

      • http://www.stopallmonsters.blogspot.com DAinLA

        And 100% not worth the fine given.

        Not in any way, shape or form.

      • LonesomeDove

        Actually, that is a little different, but for both respective sides, it never should have escalated to what eventually occurred, as it should have been diverted before it really got that far…

        • Ward Anderson

          I agree.

  • Ron Jeremy

    That’s gay

    • Biff Humble

      $1,500 Fine! Pay immediately!

  • Mikey W

    I was the “closing” “comic” at this “show”.
    Ward pretty much nailed it. It was a stalemate between the two. Both to blame. Before he pulled the glasses off her (which he did right in front of me) she threw 2 glasses of water in his face. It’s an all around shame. A shit open mic with 12 “comics” and 5 or 6 “audience” members. Not really worth soooo much attention from justice system or the media. It could have been settled between them if they weren’t such confrontational children.

    • Ward Anderson

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve been waiting to hear more from someone actually there. The entire thing has become tiresome, mostly because we comics hear “free speech” and are quick to defend. And I get that. I totally understand the desire to keep what we do away from the prying mitts of those who would silence us.

      But, in this case, we aren’t seeing that. This isn’t about free speech. It’s about a bar fight without the actual blows. A bunch of a-holes acting out.

      Glad you jumped in, Mikey.

      • andycanuck

        If it was a bar fight, you call the local cops and press charges; you don’t go to an HRC.

        And here’s what the HRC gave her damages for, “[346] Apart from a “cease and refrain” order, and a declaratory order identifying the impugned conduct as discrimination, the Tribunal ordered the respondents to compensate Ms. Pardy for $320 in lost wages and made an award under s. 37(2)(d)(iii) of the Code to compensate her for discrimination for injury to her dignity, feelings, and self-respect.

        • Ward Anderson

          I stand by my belief that he acted as a bully, not a comic. And that the Supreme Court knows more about what went down than you or I.

          I am not likely to blindly defend a guy because he hides behind the title comedian. He is, at best, a rank amateur.

    • http://www.stopallmonsters.blogspot.com DAinLA

      > she threw 2 glasses of water in his face.

      Sorry, if you start the physical confrontation, getting money as a result is completely ridiculous.

      • Ward Anderson

        Eyewitnesses testified on her behalf, not his.

      • Guest

        He also pushed her.

  • salvagesalvage

    As a great Canadian comedian said: Once again I was the hero of my own story!

    While there is much to be said about freedom of speech and how courts are not there to protect our feelings I can’t help but notice that two separate courts seemed to agree that Earle did something wrong that night.

    The truth is often found in the middle and I think this is such a case.

    Still it needs to be appealed for the sake of the precedent it sets at the very least.

    • Ward Anderson

      I agree.

      I don’t know how we got to the point that we’ve decided that, because we read about it online and heard the title “Comedian” applied to the offender, we somehow think we now more than the court that heard the case.

      Most of the debacle didn’t even happen onstage. It happened in the audience at the restaurant. All parties handled it poorly, but Mr. Earle now acts as if it was all part of his act and that he’s being persecuted for his art. It wasn’t and he isn’t.

      if the woman in question was black and he’d been standing at that woman’s table calling her racial slurs, we’d hardly be lining up to defend him now.

  • Ward Anderson

    There is way more to this story than most comedians have heard. This guy is not someone to be defending. And, in fact, one reason the court ruled as they did after the appeal is because they found that he lied about it in interviews months after the actual incident.

    None of what he was charged with happened when he was onstage, nor holding a microphone. He confronted the women at their table and even followed them out to the parking lot and berated them further. He took a woman’s sunglasses off her head and crushed them. And, in a podcast interview, admits that he was already angry and had been drinking before the incident occurred.

    There are no angles in this case. The woman in question handled it badly. The restaurant (This was NOT a comedy club) handled it badly. And Earle acted like a rank amateur who was having a bad night. A pro would have handled it better.

    If he’d stayed onstage, I’d have defended him to the end. But standing in the audience, when others are onstage, at a woman’s table, and saying “Let’s take this outside and settle it like men”, is hardly what I’d call part of performance.

    He’s trying to make this entire debacle seem like it happened when he was onstage, performing. It did not. And that’s not how the tribunal saw it, either. We’re so busy trying to scream “Free Speech” that we somehow believe we know more about this than the actual court that heard actual first-hand testimony.

    Ask yourself what you’d think of if he were, say, standing offstage at a table and calling two black women racial slurs. Would we then say it was all part of the show? I think not.

    Do yourselves a favour and Google this and learn the entire timeline. And tell me how this man’s “Free Speech” was violated when he smashed a woman’s glasses or yelled at her in the parking lot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kate.Sedgw1ck Kate Sedgwick

      I have googled it and am not finding a lot of joy in the timeline department. Can you provide something credible for the edification of readers?

      • Ward Anderson

        Read what Mikey lists below. He was a comedian at the show that night.

    • Phil Crothers

      Whether he was onstage or not seems to be entirely beside the point. No one is/should be suggesting the courts were incorrect in their decision; rather that if this was the decision arrived, one ought to seriously question whether those are laws worth keeping in their current form.

      • Ward Anderson

        That, Phil, is the best response I’ve seen so far.

        I’m not happy that this happened to the guy. But it’s ridiculous that he has tried to defend his actions by saying it was “free speech” and that being “a comedian” made it okay for him to do. People keep overlooking (or are simply ignorant of the fact) that he was not onstage performing when this happened. He was at her table, having an argument.

        My point all along has been that this isn’t an issue of Free Speech, nor is it an issue of a performer being taken down by a heckler. That it is, and always has been, a case of an argument in a bar. Two separate courts agreed, including the Supreme Court..who aren’t amateurs.

        With that in mind, we can address whether or not the law is incorrect or goes too far….but at least we can stop the canard of pretending that this discussion has anything to do with comedians, free speech, or performer’s rights.

        • Fred

          Which might (might) hold water but for the Tribunal “finding” that Earle was, at all times in the exchange, both onstage and off, an “entertainer” providing a “service”.

  • John

    This is disturbing. Guy is in the right. We the comedians need to stand up (haha) and defend our right to free speech. Let’s find a comic with some money and back this Guy till our art is safe.

    • Ward Anderson

      Pick your battles wisely. He wasn’t onstage when most of this happened. He was in the audience, at their table, engaged in insults. The tribunal overturned his appeal because he lied in interviews months after the incident when he met with media. He broke one of the women’s sunglasses and continued the argument in the parking lot. This wasn’t a “free speech” issue. It was a bar fight without the fisticuffs.

      Not every issue involving someone with a microphone calling themselves a “comedian” is about hecklers and free speech. Sometimes it’s just people being jerks to one another and looking to make an excuse for it.

      • SWPL2

        If it’s not a “free speech issue”, then let it simply be treated as “uttering threats” etc. under the Criminal Code, rather than a financial shakedown for politically incorrect speech.

        Insults without menacing threat of violence should not be illegal. Naturally, it hurt him to be white and male. I think we can all agree to that.

        • Ward Anderson

          You should read more about it. He pushed her, followed her into the parking lot, and broke her sunglasses. That’s not “poor white man” territory.

          So many opinions with so few people bothering to look up the actual story.

          • Garnet

            Seems like this woman would have a case for assault IF that’s true. But then you’d have to get real cops involved and convince real judges, and the alleged victims’ own behaviour might be an issue. Far better to bring it to the Manners Police and their predictable biases, right?

          • Ward Anderson

            The Supreme Court of BC heard it and ruled on it and upheld the verdict. That IS “real judges”. In fact, you hardly get more “real” than that.

          • mada

            Did they rule on the merits of the case
            ? or just on the Tribunal’s decision? I’m not familiar with Canadian law.

          • Fred

            Oh, no… there are two more levels of “real” to go, friend.

          • Fred

            There is no set of facts, not even the ones that the Tribunal adopted, in which Earle pushed Pardy or followed her into any (nonexistent) parking lot. I don’t know where this coverage comes from but it is not true in the least.

        • Ward Anderson

          It was two courts, not one, who reached the same conclusion. You’ll understand if I stand by the belief that they knew the laws and this case better than you or I.

        • Martin

          It’s simple math, really. Were a comedian off-stage, at my table, talking about how I’m a worthless human for taking it up the rear or licking sticks like lollipops, you can bet I’d be hurt and angry. If he attacked further by following me to my car and breaking my possessions, I’d be livid. And I’d still walk away.

          Lying about the situation in interviews only adds fuel.

          I’d seriously examine my choices. Having the gentleman arrested and for uttering threats carries no heavy penalty: no jail time, minimal fines. Getting the incident classified as a hate-crime (yes, it is) carries greater penalties, but courts are loath to use the classification, even in cases where significantly more physical damage has occurred.

          That leaves me with the Tribunal. It takes years, but will keep the gentleman from settling his life until the action is complete. My case is argued pro-bono or on contingency, and his behaviour and lies virtually guarantee the outcome. You can bet a lot of folk would take this road, as Mr. Earle will never forget now.

          Any decent lawyer would have advised exactly the same actions.

      • mada

        Is “just…being jerks” worth $15,000?

      • John

        … I’m not battling. If I were headed into battle I’d be marching behind this guy with an axe or something. That was my initial reaction. I did no further research. Thanks for the additional info. Perhaps this guy was an asshole.

  • Jason Wayne

    When are people gonna learn sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me? The fact that adults think words are harmful. Isn’t a huge fine or getting fired way worse than hearing words? What if I told one of these easily offended people that I would never say an offensive thing but they have to be fired or pay a hefty fine for the price of their sensitivity since thats what they think it’s worth?
    If you hear a word you don’t like. Move the fuck on! You’re an adult. You’re feelings will be hurt in life. Get used to it and grow a pair.

    • Ward Anderson

      “Grow a pair”? It was two women. And he wasn’t onstage when the incident occurred. He walked over to their table, stood there and insulted them. Repeatedly. Then he left and came back and did it again. Then he did it in the parking lot. That’s not “comedy”.

      Ask yourself how you’d feel if your sister or mother were sitting in a restaurant (not a comedy club) and a man stood there insulting them. Would you tell your mother or sister to “Grow a pair”?

      We comedians owe it to each other to pick our battles wisely…and not defend every rank amateur who does an open mic and suddenly feels himself worthy to call himself a “comedian”.

      He was wrong. She was no angel and the restaurant handled it poorly, as well. But he was wrong. He wasn’t doing comedy. Just insulting two women with slurs and insults.

      • http://www.stopallmonsters.blogspot.com DAinLA

        Yeah, he was wrong. But fining him 15K is even more wrong.

        PTSD? Really? That’s insulting people with actual PTSD.

        Explain to me why I would go do comedy in the UK now. If I make a mistake, if I lose my temper, if I tell a joke that is offensive to someone, I may be fined? Good luck with that.

  • Bill_Swensen

    This guy needs the entire comedy community in the US and Canada to support him. This could happen to any of us.

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