Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Bad Comic Vs. The Rowdy Lesbian, Part Bazillion

I've written about the Earle/Pardy case many a times.  Essentially, an amateur comedian named Guy Earle went off on a lesbian couple during an open mike comedy show that he was MCing.  One of the couple, Lorna Pardy, took Earle and the restaurant owner to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, claiming that she had been discriminated against  under Section 8 of the B.C. Human Rights Code, which disallows "discrimination in accommodation, service and facility".  Basically, she claimed that a restaurant employee--Earle--had verbally/physically assaulted her because she was lesbian.  Pardy  won, handily.  But Earle appealed, and attempted to convince BC Supreme Court that his assault on Pardy was part of his performance, and therefore protected speech.  Yesterday the court told him "no way":

 “In the restaurant that night, Mr Earle was an emcee who reacted to the disruption caused by the movement of some patrons, including Ms Pardy, to a new table (by the restaurant management). Ms Pardy and her companions that night were not hecklers. And Mr Earle was not giving a comedy performance when he launched into his tirade of ugly words directed at Ms Pardy.”

The judge also referenced Whatcott to establish the notion some limits to free speech are "reasonable", but the gist of the ruling is, as noted above, that Earle was not engaged in an artistic performance at the time.  He was acting more along the lines of a waiter who flew off the handle at the sight of lesbians.  So his  appeal to free speech was inappropriate on this occasion.

1 comment:

Harry Abrams said...

There's a bit more to it than the harassment in the club. Earle pretty much fell in with the "Speechy scene" at that time, as it was very fashionable to bash all human rights legislations and tribunals, and went online with some youtube videos that compounded his harassment of Pardy, while the matter was still "before the courts."

Oh well, some folks gotta learn it the hard way..