By Urban Anomie
“Keep fit and have fun.” Or as Joanne McLeod of Body Break likely means, “Keep fit and fuck off.”
During last week’s episode of The Amazing Race Canada, favourites McLeod and partner Hal Johnson were eliminated from the show after a gruelling challenge in Regina.
At one point during the episode, McLeod was thought to drop an F-bomb after being mocked by a fellow competitor. Despite being bleeped while it aired on CTV, viewers knew what she said – or at least they thought they did: McLeod told reporters she said “get off,” but changed her tune the following day.
After the admission that she did, in fact, swear, thousands of calls flooded the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) call centre in India within minutes, with angry, upset Canadians voicing their concern over the foul language. The CRTC says almost 1.3 million people contacted them in the last week, upset – some in tears.
“I say ‘fuck’ all the time, but I get really offended when I hear the word on TV,” said Tim Gubber, an oilrig worker from Fort McMurray. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear the word 100 times, but the media is making a big deal about this, so it must be bad.”
Gubber and the crew of fucksticks he works with debated the episode the night it aired, and they all agree that the language is completely unacceptable.
“Ain’t nobody fuckin’ says ‘fuck’ on TV in this country,” said Tony McIntyre, who moved to the oil-rich province from Newfoundland three years ago. “I seen guys fuckin’ swearing on the job, but it’s wrong if you’re on TV. I don’t know why, but it just is.”
The crew suspended operations of their rig for three hours—costing the drilling company that owns the rig approx. $90,000—while they phoned the CRTC and their Members of Parliament to voice their concerns. Some, too upset to go back to work, had to be given the rest of the day off to recover from the traumatic incident.
In urban centres, Canadians showed up in large numbers to protest the foul language. Greg Roberts was one such person, who took part in a rally outside Calgary’s city hall alongside an estimated 15,000 upset and angry people.
“My morals have been corrupted,” said Roberts. “Immediately after hearing the F word, I had an urge to rob a convenience store and scream at my wife.” Such incidents never would have happened before last week’s The Amazing Race Canada, Roberts says.
In Toronto, an estimated 40,000 people packed the streets outside the CTV building to protest the F-bomb.
“Hey-hey, ho-ho, ‘fuck’ is a bad word don’t you know,” the crowd kept repeating until riot police were called in to shoot the protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas because they’re clearly terrorists.
“My four year old daughter was put in hand-cuffs,” said Joni Taylor, a nurse. “The police’s response is fucking bullshit.”
Not all were upset by the F-bomb, however. Father Patrick O’Neil of Saint Scully’s Cathedral in Winnipeg says it’s ‘only a word.’
“The bible says nothing about the word ‘fuck,’ specifically,” said O’Neil. “Hell, just last week I caught one of the nuns . . . ah never mind,” he shrugged.
McLeod has apologized to fans of the show, but the damage may have already been done.