Thursday, March 21, 2013



Ezra Levant apologizes for Roma comments, and faces his boss, on air

18/03/2013 - It’s been six months since Canadian journalist Ezra Levant launched into a nine-minute rant about Roma people on his Sun News Network TV show, The Source. After the segment aired, in which Ezra was reporting on an ethnic crime ring in Toronto, the Canadian Roma community characterized his comments as an “on-air racist hate speech targeting our community.”

Levant referred to Roma people as “a culture synonymous with swindlers … one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.”

While the broadcaster, Sun News, apologized at the time and attempted to distance itself from the remarks, Levant has remained quiet - until today.

Levant’s apology on his television show was not requested by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, but rather a voluntary one in which he said regretting using the words “gypsies” and “gypped” and that his rant “will serve as an example of what not to do when commenting on social issues.” He further said, “as someone who seeks to influence the public debate, I have to think about the words I choose. It’s just wrong to slur a group of people. I made the moral mistake of judging people collectively.”

That said, the apology does serve a secondary purpose, as Sun News Network is currently seeking a placement on basic cable from Canada’s broadcast regulator. And the fact that they’ve been dogged by ethics groups over content, and views voiced by Levant, has made that goal more difficult.

After apologizing, Levant interviewed his boss, Sun News Network vice-president Kory Teneycke, who said the network should have never aired the segment in which Levant, “crossed the line.”

Protecting Canada's Roma from Hate speech and Hate propaganda

Statement from Gina Csanyi-Robah, complainant in the Ezra Levant hate propaganda investigation

Re: Sun News host Ezra Levant issues rare apology for Roma ‘slurs’ – March 18, 2013

On Thursday October 11, 2012, I reported a hate crime to the Toronto Police Services and an investigation commenced. This was in response to a nine minute diatribe containing a number of hate inciting statements made by Sun News Network commentator, Ezra Levant, which were broadcast live on public television throughout Canada. Mr. Levant demonstrated a high-degree of deliberate intent aimed at vilifying our community through racist vitriol.

Transcript of Ezra Levant’s broadcast, “The Jew vs. The Gypsies”, broadcast on Sun News Network on September 5, 2012:

“Gypsies aren't a race, they aren't a religion, they aren't a linguistic group. They're the medieval prototype of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a shiftless group of hobos that doesn't believe in property rights for themselves - they're nomads - or for others, they rob people blind! (00:00:09.60)

"Let me stop before you start blowing your hate crime whistle at me for saying Gypsy or gypped. See, political correctness and euphemisms like calling them 'Roma' instead of Gypsy or as the BBC calls them 'Travelers,' well the point of that is to obscure the truth. They're Gypsies and one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging." (00:58-01:19).

“Being Gypsy isn't like being Black, or being gay, or being a woman, or even Romanian, where many Gypsies come from - just like being from Sicily doesn't make you part of the Mafia. Being Gypsy is a positive choice. Like being a Blood or a Crip. Like joining the Cosa Nostra. For centuries these roving highway gangs have mocked the law and robbed their way across Europe.” (00:07:43.41)

“Yeah. No thanks. I'm not interested in calling them Roma, or Travellers, or having a Human Rights Commission investigate what we as a society have done them wrong and maybe dispatching social workers to them. Hah! The social workers will just have their wallets stolen.” (00:08:14.58)

Although I am thankful, I fear that Ezra Levant's apology this past Monday was not genuine, that he does not sincerely regret his actions, nor does he understand the hurt he caused to me, my family, and my community. It is my belief that the sole purpose of Mr. Levant’s apology was due to the criminal investigation into his public and willful statements made on September 5, 2012. Why didn’t he apologize at the time when the Sun Media Network aired an ‘apology to the Roma people’ on September 17, 2012. Rather, he has remained uncharacteristically silent for the past six months during which time the criminal investigation has been ongoing.

Nothing in life is coincidental. As it happens to be, Toronto Police Service’s Hate Crimes Unit called me on March 7, 2013 and requested an in person meeting at the Roma Community Centre (RCC) on the following Monday, March 11, 2013. I was informed at that meeting that despite them finding enough evidence to move forward, and despite the fact the regional crown attorney had recommended the complaint for prosecution, the Attorney General’s office had decided not to proceed. I was told by both detectives that in their years of experience in this particular role they had ever witnessed a recommendation be rejected. They then informed me that we were all invited to the Attorney General’s office on March 14, 2013 for a sit down explanation at how they had arrived at their decision. This too was a first for these hate crime investigators / detectives.

I was accompanied to the meeting by Human Rights lawyer Mark Freiman, a long time Human Rights Activist, and a member of the RCC Board of Directors. Present at the meeting were the two detectives, their colleague at the Attorney Generals office, the head prosecutor for Ontario, and the Deputy Attorney General. It was an excellent meeting because by the end, despite the concerns of it being a very challenging case that could likely turn into “a bit of a circus”, what I had to say made an impact to such an extend that the Deputy Attorney General, Patrick Monahan, agreed that he would reserve his final decision until after he and his colleagues had more time for “reflection” on this difficult matter.

Ezra Levant made his apology by saying “I attacked a particular group, and painted them all with the same brush. And to those I hurt, I’m sorry.” Following this statement, Sun News vice-president Kory Teneycke who also appeared on Monday’s show, made the following remark to Levant “you crossed the line on this one, but I don’t think it was done for reasons of malice or any ill motivation.”

The careful remarks made by these two men made me realize that someone from the March 14, 2013 meeting may possibility have shared information with them. Other than the terribly poor message that not prosecuting due to a perceived challenge of holding a media personality such as Levant responsible, I had expressed that I was particularly concerned that he had not exemplified any remorse and that I was fearful that he would again attack us Romani people with the same hateful, verbal and psychological aggression. Shockingly, two days later Levant made his public apology, and his boss helped build a defense for “willful promotion of hatred” by declaring that it was likely unintentional. Is his apology due to his fear of prosecution, or are the pebbles being laid for a massive disappointment for me and my community? Has political interference caused another miscarriage of justice for the Canadian Romani community? I guess we will all find out in the coming days ahead.

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