Mike Ward who is a French-Canadian comedian has been ordered to pay $35,000 (£20,382) after making jokes about Jéremy Gabriel in 2010 and 2013.
Jéremy is a French Canadian singer born December who has Treacher Collins syndrome and previously sang for the Pope and Celine Dion. Ward joked that Jéremy is not a very good singer and people are only nice to him because of his illness.
He said: “He’s dying, let him live his dream. Five years later, he’s still not dead.”
In 2016, it was discovered that Ward had discriminated against Gabriel and his parents for ‘making discriminatory comments regarding Jéremy Gabriel, infringing his right to equality’ after the comedian appeared before the Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal.
The comedian appealed the decision. Ward has now decided to take the case to the Supreme Court after Appellate Court mostly upheld the ruling.
Ward shared the news on his Twitter and wrote, “Been reading online that I lost my court case, which isn’t 100 per cent true.”
“In 2016 the Quebec Human Rights Commission ordered me to pay a $42,000 fine because of a joke I told on stage about a local celebrity (who happened to be a disabled child); $7,000 to the mother, $35,000 to the kid.”
“I refused to pay, went to the Appellate Court.”
“The Appellate Court of Quebec reversed the $7,000 fine, which is a good thing. It means, in Canada, if someone makes fun of you, your family doesn’t deserve financial compensation.”
“Here is the s*** part about Canada, well most Quebec, the Quebec government is till ordering me to pay $35,000 because of a joke.”
“I am, once again, refusing to pay. We are going to take this to the Supreme Court. Comedy is not a crime.”
“In a ‘free’ country, it shouldn’t be up to a judge to decide what constitutes a joke on stage. The people in attendance laughing already answered that question. I’m telling you right now, I [would] rather go to prison than pay even one tenth of this stupid fine.”
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