Tuesday, November 12, 2019

People are now canceling Sportsnet in support of Don Cherry

Newly-unemployed hockey commentator Don Cherry, 85, is the subject of much debate online this week after being fired in what might be the most high-profile canning in Canadian media history (or at least since 2014.)

The retired NHL coach and longtime face of Hockey Night in Canada was dismissed by Sportsnet on Monday afternoon over comments made during Saturday night's broadcast about poppies and immigrants.

"You people that come here, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that," said Cherry of new Canadians in a rant that has since been criticized as racist, xenophobic, offensive and discriminatory.

Amidst overwhelming backlash, Sportsnet decided on Remembrance Day to cut ties with Cherry, who had been co-hosting the popular Coach's Corner segment during Hockey Night in Canada for more than 35 years.

Critics praised the move — which was long overdue, in the opinions of many (but not Cherry, who continues to stand by his words.)

Others, thousands of them, disagree with Cherry's firing, and are now pledging to boycott both Sportsnet and its parent company over it.

The hashtag #BoycottRogers was trending on Twitter in Toronto as of Tuesday morning, with #BoycottSportsnet not far behind.

"So, Canadian snowflakes skewer the great Don Cherry as 'racist & discriminatory' for supporting Canadian veterans and Sportsnet caves and banishes him from the airwaves saying his comments 'do not represent our values.' I say #BoycottSportsnet," wrote one of Cherry's supporters. "#DonCherryIsRight."

"Can't believe Sportsnet is being so cowardly and take away someone’s freedom of speech, on a day we remember those who fought for that right," wrote another using the same hashtags.

"You have lost my support and I’ll be cancelling all of my Sportsnet subscriptions."

We've now reached the point where backlash to the backlash to the backlash is starting to dominate the #BoycottRogers hashtag.

Many on Twitter are disturbed to see just how many hockey fans are defending Cherry's offensive comments about Canadian immigrants.

"The amount of support Don Cherry is receiving on social media is disappointing to say the least," wrote one.

"However, it's not shocking. With #BoycottRogers and #IStandWithDonCherry as the #1 and #2 trends it shows that we quite aren't there yet in terms of acceptance in Canada."

Many who woke up to see #BoycottRogers trending assumed that consumers had finally started revolting against Canada's telecom oligopoly.

Not so.

"Canadian culture is trying to boycott Rogers not because of their prices, bad treatment of others or their monopoly, but because an old rich millionaire can't be racist on television anymore," lamented one Twitter user.

"Rogers has spent literally decades absolutely fucking Canadians on internet/cellphone/TV prices — but them firing a racist, senile old man, who is past his prime is what has people up in arms? Just checking," wrote another.

"#BoycottRogers is trending," reads yet another comment. "Imagine not watching your hockey team cause the broadcast just isn’t xenophobic enough for you.

"If you #BoycottSportsnet because they fired a racist 85 year old man who has been spouting occasionally racist nonsense for at least 20 years and been paid handsomely with taxpayer dollars to do so, you're telling on yourself big time," reads another still.

"I agree with #BoycottRogers! ...because they don’t care about their customers or their workers. They’re a very rich company that have laid off hard working front line staff just to be slightly richer," joked one person.

"But yeah, let's instead be mad that they fired a rich racist old man!"

The reaction to Cherry's firing points again to a wildly divided Canada, where large swaths of the country hold completely different beliefs than others.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 100,000 people had signed petitions in support of Cherry and his right to say xenophobic things on air under the guise of free speech.

"These 'woke' activists who are calling for Don's head are the same people who said Justin Trudeau’s blackface incidents weren't racist," reads one, referring to the re-election of Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister despite his recent blackface photo scandal.

"This is just another sad attempt to take down a Canadian patriot... He deserves much better than this."


by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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