CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Adolescent Sexuality)

quebec regional panel
(CBSC Decision 05/06-1104)
G. Bachand (Chair), L. Baillargeon, R. Cohen (ad hoc), G. Moisan, M.-A. Murat

the facts 

Doc Mailloux is an open-line radio program hosted by psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux and his co-host Janine Ross.  The program airs weekdays on CKAC (Montréal) from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The hosts and callers discuss topics related to psychology, sociology and similar disciplines, occasionally inspired by a current news story or social phenomenon. 

On January 24, 2006, the topic was adolescent sexuality.  Doc Mailloux had apparently chosen that topic because he wanted an opportunity to respond to widely reported comments that had been made by Hollywood actor Bruce Willis.  Willis allegedly stated that he had warned his teenage daughters about what teenage boys are “really” thinking, namely, about sex.  Mailloux objected to this behaviour by a father, mainly on the grounds that one cannot generalize about all teenage boys and that adolescents should be able to discover the opposite sex for themselves, without the interference of their parents.  He also suggested that Willis’ behaviour was an indication of a “reverse Oedipus” complex.  This led to a broader discussion about adolescent sexuality, which included some listeners’ descriptions of their own sexual experiences. 

The most pertinent portions of the program are as follows (a more complete transcript can be found in Appendix A, available in French only):

[translation]

Doc Mailloux:    Well, it’s more specific. It’s, it’s, um, little Bruce, it’s little Bruce Willis who says “My daughters know exactly what 14 and 16 year-old boys who date them are thinking, because I told them.”

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    We’re not too far from what I was saying earlier.  Can you tell me what damned talent that guy has that he can decipher what goes on, decipher and understand, what goes on in the psyche of two guys aged 14 and 16 who date his two daughters?

Janine Ross:     Well.  Could he be referring to his own experience as a man?

Doc Mailloux:    Now, are the two boys who date his two daughters the same as he is?  Well, then, our little brat Willis, who is a great actor, but probably a very poor father … you see, thinks he can tar the entire male gender with the same brush, doesn’t he?

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    He says, “I was a little brat of 14.  Here are two little brats who think the same thing I thought at their age.”  Hey, that’s pretty lame.

Janine Ross:     But what could it, but Pierre, what could it mean?

Doc Mailloux:    It hit me right in the face when I saw that.  He really is dumb, that damned half-wit.

Doc Mailloux:    It’s narcissistic.  That is an example of narcissism if there ever was one.  And even at that, I would, if I were vulgar, if I allowed myself to be vulgar, I would say that is a statement worthy of someone who is full of shit.  It makes no sense, Janine.  What is that all about?  In print; circulated around the world.

Janine Ross:     Pierre, is it part of a father’s role to educate his daughters as to young men?

Doc Mailloux:    But, he doesn’t know what that is.

Janine Ross:     Answer the question.

Doc Mailloux:    My point is that that half-wit thinks he does know, while in fact, hey, Janine.

Janine Ross:     But many people would say, Pierre, that at 14, 15, 16, they’re full of testosterone.  You hear that often.  Young teenage boys want to experience these things.  Youths, youths, teenagers want sexual experiences.  There is a very strong force at work and we often define –

Doc Mailloux:    Janine.

Janine Ross:     – a young man in those terms.

Doc Mailloux:    Did you know that at 14 or 16 I would never have been able to screw a woman?

Doc Mailloux:    I would not have been able to fuck a woman at 14 or 16.

Doc Mailloux:    Well, why do think I’m saying he’s full of shit?

Janine Ross:     What perception?  What perception?

Doc Mailloux:    Hey, that’s a frightening statement.  Someone should tell him that he’s full of crap.  You’re going to damage; you’ve already damaged your daughters.  Shut your damned trap.  Can anyone tell him that?  It’s dreadful; it’s, hey, it’s quoted in the weekend edition of the Journal de Montréal.  Two million people will have read that.  And that individual full of shit is telling them it’s alright.  “Stick your nose in their business and educate your daughters.  Tell them what goes on in the mind of a boy of that age.”  Excuse me?!

Janine Ross:     It’s a generalisation.

Doc Mailloux:    I’ve been a psychiatrist for 26 years and I could never do that.

Janine Ross:     They’re not as interesting if they’re all the same.  That aside, Pierre, what do you see as being the potential damage of a father making a statement like that to his teenage daughters?

Doc Mailloux:    No young man – girls – no young man you meet will compare with your father, that man among men with a capital “M”.

Janine Ross:     Hmmn.

Doc Mailloux:    Did you understand what I said?

Janine Ross:     That would be the underlying message.

Doc Mailloux:    As a stroke of narcissism, it beats everything I’ve seen and then some.  Secondly, little Wil, could you go jerk yourself off with your repressed sexual desire towards your daughters?

Janine Ross:     Are there fathers who -?

Doc Mailloux:    It’s called the reverse Oedipus complex.

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    And I’m really anxious to see people other than myself discuss this in Quebec and elsewhere; the reverse Oedipus complex.

Janine Ross:     Because –

Doc Mailloux:    That is to say, the sexual attraction an adult parent feels towards his or her child of the opposite sex.

Doc Mailloux:    That statement is so common that it’s not even funny.  There is no thinking involved.  It’s spread as being a desirable attitude, while it is probably the most degrading act.  Listen –

Janine Ross:     But, we often hear it, Pierre.

Doc Mailloux:    Before –

Janine Ross:     You often hear statements of that nature.

Doc Mailloux:    Short of, hey, I’ll tell you this.  Short of fucking them, it, he screwed them.  In other words, short of fucking them, he fucked them in the head.  I find that, it’s an, it’s an aberration.

Janine Ross:     But Pierre, you’ve no doubt heard it.

Doc Mailloux:    I’ve heard it often, but I’ve never heard an individual who openly identifies himself as a proponent of that attitude, an attitude he claims is educational, while it’s worthy of a moron.  Do you understand?  Yes, there are people who do it, but they hide it.  Do you understand?

Janine Ross:     But, who will, who will -?

Doc Mailloux:    There is some embarrassment that goes along with that, but the moron has his picture taken and hurls it onto the public trash heap as if to say, hey, imitate me, Brucie Willis.

Doc Mailloux:    You know, let’s not compare apples and oranges.  He’s a damn good actor, but he’s rotten as a father.  Rotten, rotten, rotten, rotten, harmful, detrimental.

Janine Ross:     But Pierre, when you raise daughters –

Doc Mailloux:    And those individuals full, full of crap like that –

Janine Ross:     When you raise daughters –

Doc Mailloux:    Okay, I’m listening.  I won’t say a word.

Janine Ross:     – how do you explain to them that there’s a difference between them and teenage boys?

Doc Mailloux:    How’s that?

Janine Ross:     How do you teach girls who have reached adolescence that there is a differentiation; that there is a difference?  It is different.  The guys don’t have the same sexual response as the girls.

Doc Mailloux:    But, Janine.

Janine Ross:     Is the mother the more credible person to tell them?

Doc Mailloux:    Janine.

Janine Ross:     I’m asking; I want to know.

Doc Mailloux:    Janine.

Janine Ross:     Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    It’s up to them to find out.

Janine Ross:     A lot of warnings, eh?

Doc Mailloux:    Thank you.

Janine Ross:     You know that, don’t you?

Doc Mailloux:    Thank you.  It’s up to them to find out.

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    Why do you think there is a stage called adolescence?  Discovery of self; discovery of the other; and discovery of others.

Janine Ross:     Well I completely agree on that, Pierre, but there is often a measure of naiveté in adolescence and you don’t have the experience you have at 25 or 30.

Doc Mailloux:    Janine, that’s what adolescence is all about.

Janine Ross:     But to avoid negative consequences, won’t some parents say too much, without it being a case of reverse Oedipus complex?

Doc Mailloux:    When we can rise up and say to a guy like Br-, Bruce Willis, “Bruce, when you say that, you’re full of shit.”  Okay?

Janine Ross:     So, is it part of a father’s role to educate his daughters as to young men? [She laughs and then gives out telephone numbers]. 

The first call they took was from Julien: 

Doc Mailloux:    Um, Julien, when you see a young girl giving one of your boys the eye –

Doc Mailloux:    The 16 year-old.  Do you start by telling him “Listen son, she’s a damned little cock teaser”?

Doc Mailloux:    Could that be?  But, but supposing that with your experience, you’re certain that is what she is.  Would you tell him that?

Janine Ross:     You wouldn’t warn him.

Doc Mailloux:    But, that half-wit Willis.  Those are the kinds of things, those are the kinds of things that he probably went and said to his daughters. 

Mailloux questioned a subsequent caller, Philippe, on what he had been like as a teenage boy: 

Doc Mailloux:    Well now, well now, what, what are you telling us?  You didn’t want to screw when you were 14?

[???] Well, yes and no; but it wasn’t a priority to, to screw with girls.

Doc Mailloux:    Get out of town.  It wasn’t a priority for you?  How interesting is that?  So if you ever, little Philippe, were to date Bruce Willis’ daughter, Bruce Willis who said all kinds of things on, um, to the girl you’re interested in, how would you feel towards that maggot? [Janine Ross laughs].

[???] young girls [???] young guys [??].

Doc Mailloux:    No, you’re dating Bruce Willis’ daughter and her father has given her a brain washing.

Janine Ross:     He’s saying, he’s saying, the father is saying he knows exactly what is going on in your mind, Philippe.

Doc Mailloux:    Ahh, but you’re telling us that if you –

When I was young, it wasn’t a priority, but the more I see, the youth of today –

Doc Mailloux:    No; you’re trying my patience with what you see in young people!  And you’re blind to boot.  Do you think that I, the parable of the blind men; read that in the Bible.  Now, talk to us about yourself at 16, at 16.

Doc Mailloux:    What didn’t you think about?

Doc Mailloux:    Pardon?

  It wasn’t, it wasn’t a priority for me, not even in the least.

Doc Mailloux:    Well then, I hope that half-wit Willis is listening to you.

Doc Mailloux:    And that he realizes there is a Philippe in the world, aged 24, who at 14 and 16 absolutely did not consider it a priority to screw his daughters.  Okay?  Do we agree on that?  [Philippe laughs] Bye. 

The next caller, Jeannot, told Mailloux what his mother had told him about relationships when he was a teenager: 

Because, I, let me repeat what my mother used to say.  I had a, um, closer relationship with her concerning those aspects.  She told me [??] a young lady is not to be, um, sullied, if you will.  A young lady is not to be mistreated.

Doc Mailloux:    Your mother missed a damn good opportunity to become aware of her reverse Oedipus complex.

Doc Mailloux:    Repeat the foolish advice, repeat the sublimely foolish advice that your charming mother gave you.  A young lady is not to be?

Doc Mailloux:    No, what was the first word?  I liked that.

Doc Mailloux:    A young lady is not to be sullied.

Okay, I, but, it’s, in any case, I don’t know –

Doc Mailloux:    Huh?

Doc Mailloux:    A boy’s dick is a dirty thing.

Doc Mailloux:    A man’s dick, that’s dirty.

Doc Mailloux:    Your mother had a conflict of interest.  She would have been better off shutting her mouth, sir.

[…]

Jeannot: […] And there was no penetration at first.  It was always, um, I got sucked; I ate a woman’s clitoris.  I was probably about 12 or 13 at that time.  The young lady [?] was older than me, okay?  She was maybe 14, 15 or 16.  And, um, that’s why I’m telling you I understand some of what Mr. Willis – ah well, Mr. Willis – Bruce Willis is trying to say.  I won’t say Mister, because, well, he [??] went a bit too far with the macho thing, and, um, as you said about him, we’re talking about the reverse Oedipus complex and [???] never spoke.  It really woke me up as well, given my young daughter that I – 

Later on in the program, Mailloux stated that a study conducted in England had found that the average age for first sexual experiences had in fact risen.  Mailloux and Janine then went on to discuss the differences between male and female sexuality: 

Doc Mailloux:    The young girl of 12 or 13 who has sexual relations is being fucked by a [?] of 18 or 20.

Janine Ross:     But, boys –

Doc Mailloux:    She isn’t being fucked by the young kid [?], the young kid of 12, do you understand?

Doc Mailloux:    No, listen.  The most a young kid of 12 will do, in fact most of them don’t even get hard-ons yet.  And they don’t even ejaculate at 12, Janine.

Janine Ross:     Given that, given that –

Doc Mailloux:    He will be scared.  Listen.  Male sexuality doesn’t work that way –

Janine Ross:     But, it’s because Jeannot was telling us.

Doc Mailloux:    There’s always one.  A young kid of 12 or 13 who ejaculates is an exceptional case.  They start ejaculating at 13 and a half, 14.  Really. 

The next caller, Alexandre, talked about the role of a parent and suggested that it is better if a mother talks to her daughter and a father to his son.  Mailloux then presented Alexandre with a hypothetical scenario in which a father notices that his daughter’s boyfriend has an erection.  Alexandre stated that, if faced with that situation, he would ask his wife to go speak to the daughter.  The conversation then shifted to Alexandre’s first sexual experience: 

Janine Ross:     Okay.

And I think now that it really didn’t do me any harm, um.

Doc Mailloux:    How old was the girl?

Doc Mailloux:    Alexandre.

Janine Ross:     Yes.  Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    Alexandre, how long did the act of coitus last?

Doc Mailloux:    No, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.  The length of time –

Doc Mailloux:    The time it took to –

Doc Mailloux:    Explain to our listeners.

But [?] I’m telling you that in any case, hmn, I didn’t know how at first; I didn’t know there was such a thing.  I didn’t know a girl could get wet.  I didn’t know.  I tried to get in.

Doc Mailloux:    Alexandre.

[?] she’s the one who explained it to me.

Janine Ross:     It’s, it’s.

I, as I was telling you, I really messed up.  I didn’t know anything.  And, I think we, it was the first time for her too, so we sort of learned together.  And, I would say that after a year, it was [??].

Doc Mailloux:    Alexandre, were you, at that age, were you ready to copulate with a young girl?

I’m honestly not sure because if I know [??] –

Doc Mailloux:    Did you act; did you act in a respectful fashion towards the other person?

But, she was the one who, who practically asked me for it with –

Doc Mailloux:    Yes, of course.  Another little slut.  It was her.  Listen.  You were a victim of rape. 

Following a commercial break, Mailloux and Janine commented further on the hypothetical scenario Mailloux had presented to the last caller and on that caller’s response: 

Doc Mailloux:    A situation, a very simple situation.

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    A girl of 17 –

Janine Ross:     Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    – with a, with her male friend of 17 beside her.  The father goes by and notices that the boy has one hell of a lump in his pants.  He’s got a first class hard-on and it shows.

Janine Ross:     Yes.  That father just realized several things, namely that his daughter is with a sexual individual and she herself can be sexual.

Doc Mailloux:    So, he goes to another room.  He sends out the old lady.  “Listen, go speak to our daughter.  No word of a lie, the guy has a tent in his pants.” [he laughs]

Janine Ross:     But it’s panic time.  That sort of thing generates a form of panic.

Doc Mailloux:    Ah, Ja-, listen.  It’s an extraordinary thing.

Janine Ross:     So, how do you react?

Doc Mailloux:    [??] simple things.  But, that’s life.  That’s the life of a parent.

Janine Ross:     How do you react as a parent?  That’s the question.

Doc Mailloux:    And that is why Bruce Willis burned my ass when I read about his stupidity that is being held forth as a model worthy of imitation.  Go fuck yourself, you jerk!  You’re a great actor, but you’re an idiot as a father. 

That exchange was followed by a call from émilie who identified herself as being 11 years old.  émilie explained that she had a problem with her mother.  Every time émilie mentioned her male friends, her mother would insist that boys often have bad intentions.  Mailloux questioned émilie about what she did with her male friends.  émilie explained that she felt she was too young for romantic relations and that she mainly went out in groups to the movies or ice-skating.  Mailloux then offered his explanation for her mother’s reaction to her friendships: 

Doc Mailloux:    Excellent.  We’ll pursue this line of thought.  And um, you know émilie, I’ll tell you a big secret.  There are many mothers in Quebec who lack fondling.  They’re jealous of their young daughters who might get a bit of fondling.  Perhaps your mother is one of them.

  She understands me and, um, all that –

Doc Mailloux:    No, no, no.  Hang on.  Does your mother get plenty of fondling?

Doc Mailloux:    Ah, what do you know about it?

Doc Mailloux:    Is that right?  And does your father fondle your mother in front of you?

Doc Mailloux:    So, what do you know about it?

Janine Ross:     Maybe, they’re affectionate towards each other?

Doc Mailloux:    No, no.  Hang on.

Janine Ross:     Huh?

Doc Mailloux:    No, no.  Please don’t put words in her mouth.

Janine Ross:     [??] but I’m saying perhaps affection.

Doc Mailloux:    You say that your, that your mother gets plenty of fondling.  How do you know that?

Well, I know that my parents get along very well.  They’ve always slept in the same bed.

Doc Mailloux:    Yes.  Yes, but how do you know that your parents, that your mother gets plenty of fondling?

Doc Mailloux:    Ahh!  We can’t be entirely sure!  We don’t really know.  It is possible, and I may be wrong, that my mother doesn’t get much fondling, and that she doesn’t really like the fact that émilie, you know, could be in a position to be fondled a bit.  That may be her little problem.  Many mothers are that way in Quebec.  As far as your activities go, it makes sense doesn’t it?

Doc Mailloux:    Oh, Janine, I never thought.  I regularly forget that we have very young people listening to our program.

Janine Ross:     Of course.  It reminds you, eh?

Doc Mailloux:    So, the listeners, and there was a listener who called last week who was very insulting towards the audience that listens to our open-line show.  Listen more often, please, my little brat, and you’ll see that respectable people of all age groups call in. 

After a conversation with another caller and a news break, Mailloux returned to the subject of Bruce Willis’ remarks: 

Doc Mailloux:    “My daughters”.  Bruce Willis’ comments are printed in the weekend supplement.  Listen, it’s not harmless.  Printed, in large, in bold print, in the weekend supplement of the Saturday, January 21, 2006 edition of the  Journal de Montréal.  So, there are about; that article will have been read by approximately two million people in Quebec, okay?  One out of every three people, um, almost one out of every two, will have read this, this quote.  And, Bruce Willis says, you can see his picture, shaved head and all, on the side, says “My daughters know exactly what 14 and 16 year-old boys who date them are thinking, because I told them.”  It really takes someone full of crap to dare say such a thing.  “My daughters know exactly what 14 and 16 year-old boys who date them are thinking, because I told them.”  Who does this fat maggot think he is?

Janine Ross:     But, it’s a generalisation.

Doc Mailloux:    Quasi-incestuous, that’s the least that can be said.  Listen –

Janine Ross:     His generalisation is what grabs you.

Doc Mailloux:    – the reverse Oedipus complex – that’s the next step towards incest; towards psychological incest first, and then physical incest.   Do you understand?  It’s a continuum; reverse Oedipus complex, psychological incest, physical incest.  It’s a continuum.  I’m not saying that everyone who manifests significant signs of the reverse Oedipus complex will necessarily commit incest, but it is the next step along the way. 

Mailloux and Janine then spoke with another caller, Zachary, who expressed concern about child prostitution and pregnancy in developing countries.  That conversation was followed by one with caller Francine who shared her experience as a mother of boys: 

Francine:   Do you know what I’m referring to? I, I raised mainly boys and all that, and I remember once, the house had a type of mezzanine, and my son was upstairs.  I had a son who was 12 or so, I don’t clearly recall.  At one point, I went upstairs because I thought he was sleeping.  So I just took a quick look and I saw my son with an erection in the process of giving himself, um, masturbating. [she laughs]

Doc Mailloux:    Wait a minute, Francine.  Say what you were going to say.

Francine:           Well, so I –

Doc Mailloux:    He’s in the process of giving himself.

Francine:           Yes, yes, that’s what was happening.  That’s when I saw that he was –

Doc Mailloux:    He’s in the process of giving himself a hand job.

Francine:           Yes, and he –

Doc Mailloux:    Use, use, I would like it if on our show, people used –

Francine:            I mean that he was in the process of –

Doc Mailloux:    – their own words and did not change their way of expressing themselves because they’re on the radio.  That just [?]. 

A few minutes later, they spoke with Claude.  Claude referred to two previous calls and, towards the end of the conversation, shared his personal adolescent experiences: 

Claude:             Um, well, I wanted to know, um, there was a guy a while ago who, a gentleman who was telling you that his daughter – she was, like, 17 – is dating a young man.  And, um, he told the guy “Um, well, if the pressure gets too strong, go relieve yourself.”

Doc Mailloux:    Yes.

Claude:             Do you think it makes sense to say that?

Doc Mailloux:    No.

Claude:             Because you, you said nothing.

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    Just because I don’t say anything, it doesn’t mean that I approve.

[…]

Claude:             You think he’s a prick.

[…]

Claude:             Well making a guy ill at ease is the worst thing you can do.

Doc Mailloux:    Yes.

Janine Ross:     I can imagine, and the daughter as well; your own daughter.

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    No, but, wait, wait a minute, Claude.  In his defence –

Claude:             Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    The guy was standing up and walking around with an erection.

Claude:             Yes?  Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    You know?  Claude, there are all kinds of people.

Claude:             Yes.

Janine Ross:     We don’t have the whole story.

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    He was standing up and walking around with a strong erection.

Janine Ross:     Was he showing off?

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    Was he showing off?

Claude:             Was he doing it on purpose?  Is that it?

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    You know?  All that stuff happens.  The human mosaic.

[…]

Claude:             So, if the guy was doing it on purpose, he might have done well to say so.

[…]

Claude:             And, the, the, the young girl [??].  I mean, I was busy.  I missed a bit of the story. The young girl who was speaking; the 11 year-old.  Did she say that she was kissing him, that she was frenching with her boyfriend?

Janine Ross:     No. No.

Doc Mailloux:    Not at all.

Claude:             So, she said she didn’t do that?

Doc Mailloux:    She said, she told us, I wrote it down, I know.

Claude:             Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    It’s émilie.

Claude:             Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    “I, I don’t feel like kissing him.”

Claude:             Well that’s good at that age.

Doc Mailloux:    Thank you.

Claude:             It’s, it’s better than [??].  Now, with respect to Bruce Willis –

Doc Mailloux:    It is, it is good, because at that age the oral orifice –

Claude:             Yes?

Doc Mailloux:    – has very little erotic sensation.

Claude:             Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    It is only with time, over a period of several years, that this dear little opening will feel sensation, and stimulate the brain so that the little, um, vagina will begin to lubricate.

[…]

Claude:             That’s, that’s good.  But turning now to, um to Bruce Willis.  He says that, um, he said “I decided, I told my daughters what guys are all about.”

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    I’ll repeat the beginning of the sentence: “My daughters know exactly what 14 and 16 year-old boys who date them are thinking.”  He’s so full of himself, it’s not even funny. [Janine laughs]

[…]

Claude:             Well, okay.  And he says “I told them”.  Um, but to talk to our daughters, um, um, about the opposite sex may not necessarily be a bad thing.

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    No, no. Claude.  Claude.  Boys are not a homogeneous group.  That’s my point. What that half-wit did was dangerous.

[…]

Doc Mailloux:    You mentioned that you were too embarrassed at 14.  What embarrassed you?

Claude:             But the thing is, I was very shy around girls.

Doc Mailloux:    But, why were you shy around girls?

Claude:             Ah yes, I was very shy when I was young.

Doc Mailloux:    Get out of town.

Claude:             Really.

Doc Mailloux:    Is that right?

Claude:             Especially with girls.

Doc Mailloux:    Is that right?

Claude:             It was my nature and with girls it’s, it was worse.

Doc Mailloux:    Is that right?  Isn’t it strange that the more we talk, the more what you have to say changes, in all of two minutes.  Well, well.

Janine Ross:     But he was thinking about it.  That’s what he claims – that he was thinking about it.

Doc Mailloux:    Ahh.

Claude:             But, I thought about it.  I thought about it a lot.

Doc Mailloux:    He was embarrassed.  He was very shy.

Claude:             Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    I see.

Claude:             But, I thought about it a lot.  But I would feel them up, from the age of 14 onwards I did feel them up.  I mean, um [??].

Doc Mailloux:    [??]. Well tell us about it.  What did you mean by “I felt some up”?  What, what did you mean to say?  Explain.

Claude:             Get-, getting jerked off, and, um, well.

Doc Mailloux:    Getting jerked off?

Claude:             Yes.

Janine Ross:     Ah, you [?] okay?

Claude:             No. [He laughs]

Doc Mailloux:    So getting jerked off.  What was that like?  Where did it take place and how?

Claude:             Well, I’ll tell you, there is no lack of places in the country, right?

Doc Mailloux:    No, Claude.

Claude:             Anywhere.  In houses, um, outdoors, um in the barn.

Doc Mailloux:    What did you do exactly?

Claude:             Well, I would feel them up.

Doc Mailloux:    Yes, but over or under their clothes?

Claude:             Under.

Doc Mailloux:    Under the clothing?

Claude:             Yes, that’s right, and we kissed and all that.

Doc Mailloux:    Yes.  How old were you at that point, that is for getting jerked off?

Claude:             Well that, that started at, um, 13, 14.

Doc Mailloux:    Thirteen, 14?

Claude:             Yes.  But I thought about; it didn’t happen often, but I thought –

Doc Mailloux:    You know?  You know, Claude?  I would really like it if; do you have daughters?

Claude:             No.

Doc Mailloux:    No? Okay.  I would have liked your, um, your daughters, had you had any, to have heard you.

Claude:             Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    Huh?  To have heard you this afternoon; to have heard your account.  What would they have thought of their father?

Claude:             Would they think I was wrong?

Doc Mailloux:    What?

Claude:             Do you think that’s it?

Doc Mailloux:    You have, you have; there are young girls listening to you.

Claude:             Yes.

Doc Mailloux:    So you did some feeling up, and some grabbing; you went for getting jerked off?

Claude:             Yes.  Is there something wrong?

Doc Mailloux:    Yes.  Yes.  He would think, okay?  Unfortunately, Claude, you had no respect.

 

A listener filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) (which forwarded it to the CBSC, in accordance with their customary practices) dated February 5 in which he objected to Mailloux’s use of insulting language toward Bruce Willis (the full text of all correspondence can be found in Appendix B, available in French only): 

[translation]

I want to draw your attention to comments made about Bruce Willis by Doc Mailloux, not tempered by the host Janine Ross, to the effect that Mr. Willis is, among other things, “full of shit” when he was commenting on an article that appeared in a daily a few days before.  These comments warrant analysis.  In my opinion, the CRTC should condemn the offensive, derogatory and degrading comment “full of shit” as well as others used by Pierre Mailloux concerning Bruce Willis during his outburst.  Furthermore, these comments warrant an investigation on your part. […]

I also want to stress the significant role played by CKAC and the host Janine Ross, in any blame the CRTC may find, as they tolerate objectionable comments on that show.

In my opinion, the comment “full of shit” concerning Bruce Willis contravenes the provision in the CRTC Regulations regarding dignity and the requirement to produce high quality programming. 

CKAC responded to the complainant on February 19 with the following:

[translation] 

As you know, CKAC-AM broadcasts service-type programs, as well as commentary and discussion programs on a variety of issues that may be controversial.

CKAC broadcasts a vast array of styles and content that are proportionally adapted to a target audience we have been serving for many years.

In your letter, you raise a concern about comments you find inappropriate and in bad taste.  We understand that certain topics and comments, as well as the approach taken towards them, may not suit everyone’s tastes.  Taste is an extremely subjective aspect that varies according to the point of view of the individual. The Canadian Broadcasters Association’s Code of Ethics (“the Code”) administered by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) states that “the broadcaster’s responsibility does not extend to issues of good taste.”  In its interpretation of the Code, the CBSC applies current social standards. The Council has recognized that a program may “not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ and it assumes that some members of society would be offended [.]  That is not, however, the criterion by which the program must be judged.”

In a subsequent decision, the CBSC also established that “there is no doubt that our society demands that both pleasant and unpleasant matters be dealt with by the media.”  It would, however, be unreasonable and illusory to expect that broadcast content will meet with everyone’s approval.  However, according to the CBSC “What may constitute the limits of acceptability in each challenged case will need to be appreciated in its context.”

With respect to the Doctor Mailloux program, the broad spectrum of topics addressed, as well as the evocation techniques used by this health professional, may sometimes be interpreted differently by some listeners and some of them may react with dislike. Nevertheless, we are confident that the comments made by Doctor Mailloux on our airwaves are not based on hostility or discrimination and that they do not incite hatred.

 We did, however, analyze your concerns internally and we hold regular discussions with our on-air staff on broadcast content.  We will continue to exercise the utmost vigilance where these matters are concerned.  We deeply regret that this program offended you.  Please be assured that we take our responsibilities as a broadcaster seriously.  At CKAC-AM, we make every effort to ensure that all our programming complies with the Broadcasting Act, the Radio Regulations, as well as the codes and standards with which we must comply as a member of the CBSC. 

The complainant submitted his Ruling Request on February 24 along with the following note: 

[translation]

In its reply, the broadcaster’s representative appears to want to downplay my concerns by modifying the terms I used and condemned regarding Doc Mailloux’s comments during the program in question.  He also mentions that I find those comments “inappropriate and in bad taste”, while I specified that I find them OFFENSIVE, DEROGATORY and DEGRADING towards Bruce Willis.

In the second paragraph of his letter, he uses the term “taste” four times to stress this aspect of the comments made by Doc Mailloux.  I reiterate and emphasize my concern and my complaint on the basis of the accusations I made along with my original complaint of February 6, 2006.

For me, personally, the expression “full of shit”, used more than once I believe by Doc Mailloux throughout the program (the logger tape should be checked) has had a negative impact on my perception of Mr. Willis.  Every time I hear his name or see his picture, there is a negative effect.  I assume that other listeners may have also experienced a similar reaction that is prejudicial to the target of those comments. 

 

the decision 

The Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the following provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics: 

Clause 6 – Full, Fair and Proper Presentation

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster.  This principle shall apply to all radio and television programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers.

 Clause 9 – Radio Broadcasting 

Recognizing that radio is a local medium and, consequently, reflective of local community standards, programming broadcast on a local radio station shall take into consideration the generally recognized access to programming content available in the market, the demographic composition of the station’s audience, and the station’s format.  Within this context, particular care shall be taken by radio broadcasters to ensure that programming on their stations does not contain:

[…]

(b)        Unduly sexually explicit material; and/or

(c)        Unduly coarse and offensive language.

 

Insulting Comments about Bruce Willis 

Public figures are, in some senses, more vulnerable to comment and criticism than private individuals.  They are, by virtue of what they do and their familiarity to the public, subject to notice and consequently either idolization or veneration, on the one hand, or disapproval or criticism, on the other.  This does not mean that the public is entitled to say anything they please about public figures.  It is merely to observe that there is some likelihood that they will attract comment, which will, on the basis of chance alone, fall on the negative side of the neutral fence. 

If there is a limit to what may be said of a critical nature, what will be its definition or limitation?  Some examples from previous decisions of this Panel and the Ontario Panel follow. In CHOG-AM re the Jesse and Gene Show (CBSC Decision 93/94-0242, November 15, 1994), the Ontario Panel observed that “public figures, such as politicians, are often held up to criticism and parody.”  As the Panel explained, 

Indeed, it is the most essential component of the principle of free speech that the fullest criticism of political figures and political positions be permitted in a free society.  Provided that the satire or criticism is levelled at political persons on the basis of their actions as public figures and not on the basis of their national or ethnic origin, it must be permitted, if not encouraged. 

In CJMF-FM re the program L’heure de vérité avec André Arthur (CBSC Decision 99/00-0240, August 29, 2000), the program host had referred to a prominent Quebec family as a [translations] “family of crooks”, afflicted with “psychological problems, addiction problems and alcoholism problems.”  While the Quebec Panel did not delve in a material way into the public renown of the berated family, it did conclude that the 

inflammatory unjustifiable language of the host is a travesty and the worst type of journalistic excess to which talk radio can succumb.  It adds absolutely nothing remotely worthwhile to public discourse.  It is petty, scurrilous and hateful.  It is not full, but empty; not fair, but the most unfair use of a one-way microphone; and not proper, but improper and inappropriate. 

In other unsaid words, this Panel did not determine that the public position of the family justified the insulting comments that had been hurled in their direction.  In CHOI-FM re Le monde parallèle de Jeff Fillion (CBSC Decision 02/03-0115, July 17, 2003), this Panel dealt with other insulting language, notably, [translations] “conceited asshole”, “that worthless piece of trash”, a “loser”, a “piece of vomit”, a “shit disturber” and a “tree with rotten roots” (aimed at a competitor radio host in Quebec City, that is to say, a public personality) and found that it was it was “shrill, brash, unpleasant, driven by nasty insults, without meaningful justification” and thus in breach of the CAB Code of Ethics.  As it explained, “the Canadian airwaves are not a free-for-all.”  Where, though, the observations directed at the same competitive radio host were “focussed comments such as the accusation that [the latter] was ‘a poor communicator’ who had lost most of his listeners [they were] fair game.” 

In the matter at hand, the Panel concludes that the host was well within his rights and, indeed, his professional capacity, to criticize what Bruce Willis had said on the subject of adolescent sexuality.  He could equally accuse the actor of being out of his depth in making the observations the latter did share with his daughters about the presumed intentions of adolescent boys (although there is equally no doubt that, having been an adolescent and now a father, Willis was justified in expressing his opinion on those subjects).  Mailloux was, however, not content to make his own statements in a dispassionate, professional way and it is there that the Panel finds a Code breach.  “Wrong” would be an acceptable criticism; “full of shit” is not.  Moreover, the words were directed at Willis, the individual, and not even at what he said.  And the host piled them on: [translations] “dumb”, “that damned half-wit”, “little brat”, “full of crap”, etc.  While one or another of these latter insults on its own might have passed muster, the collectivity, coupled with “full of shit” does not.  They constitute an excessive and pejorative insult aimed at a public figure, whose harmless comments about teen-age boys in no way justified such a nasty and unprofessional outburst on the part of a medical doctor.  The broadcast thus constitutes a breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Sexual Content on Radio 

The CBSC has dealt with this issue on numerous occasions.  The general principle it applies is that the mention of body parts is acceptable, even at hours of the day when children could be expected to be listening.  The mention of sexual innuendo will also be acceptable; however, the discussion of sexually explicit matters will constitute a breach of Clause 9 of the CAB Code of Ethics.  Examples of unduly sexually explicit content include some of those discussed in CFMI-FM re Brother Jake Morning Show (CBSC Decision 00/01-0688, January 23, 2002).  The B.C. Panel described the most problematic of the examples in the following terms.  The 

discussion that caused concern involved one male host’s alleged sexual encounter on a workbench.  The host described how his female date from the previous night “starts to do this wild striptease” and “gets down to her thong.”  He then went on to explain how he threw “her on the workbench” where “she’s goin’ nuts grabbin’ my nuts and I’m just thinking ‘this is great!'”.  The discussion continued for a few minutes during which time the host repeated how he put the woman on the workbench and “was just givin’ it to her.” 

In another similar situation, namely, CFNY-FM re the Show with Dean Blundell (CBSC Decision 01/02-0267, June 7, 2002), a discussion about fellatio, a joking reference to one of the hosts having sex with his mother and other detailed conversations about the sex lives of the hosts and various celebrities were considered too sexually explicit for the morning time slot of the challenged program.  Other examples of sexual comment that went over the line can be found in CIRK-FM re K-Rock Morning Show (CBSC Decision 01/02-0713 & -1113, February 5, 2003), CIKI-FM re a joke on Tout le monde debout (CBSC Decision 02/03-0358, July 17, 2003), CHMJ-AM re Tom Leykis Show (Valentine’s Day) (CBSC Decision 02/03-0673, July 22, 2003), CKVX-FM re comments made on the Pepper and Crash Show (CBSC Decision 02/03-0237, July 22, 2003), CHOI-FM re Le monde parallèle de Jeff Fillion (Sexual comments) (CBSC Decision 03/04-0018, April 22, 2004) and CKOI-FM re comments made on Y’é trop d’bonne heure (CBSC Decision 04/05-0891, September 9, 2005). 

In the matter at hand, the Panel considers that there were several examples of comments that were unduly sexually explicit for a time of the day when children could be expected to be listening.  Moreover, it was perfectly clear that a child had been listening, as the host carried on a dialogue with émilie, who had identified herself as being 11 years old.  The following references, whether individually or cumulated, exceed the bounds of the acceptable in a broadcast at that time of day:  [translations] “fuck a woman”, “screw with other girls” (a comment made, in this instance, by a caller, but one for which the broadcaster is nonetheless responsible), “screw his daughters”, “I got sucked, I ate a woman’s clitoris”, “the little [.] vagina will begin to lubricate”, the lengthy and detailed description by caller Alexandre of his first experience of sexual intercourse, even the dialogue with émilie regarding the sexual activities of her parents, and caller Claude’s description of having “felt up. girls”.  The challenged broadcast is, therefore, also in violation of Clause 9(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Coarse Language 

The matter of the host’s language is, if anything, even clearer than the foregoing subject breaches.  The use of the English word “fucking”, the French verb “fourrer” and the insulting phrase “plein de marde” [translation: “full of shit”] discussed above in another context all constitute examples of unduly coarse or offensive language as envisaged by Clause 9(c) of the CAB Code of Ethics.  Insofar as the f-word in concerned, the Panel refers to its conclusion regarding the use of the English f-word in two previous decisions rendered by it, the first with respect to the same host in CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (CBSC Decision 05/06-0642, February 3, 2006) and the second in CJMF-FM re comments made on an episode of Le trio de l’enfer (CBSC Decision 04/05-0761, October 24, 2005).  The Panel considers that the use of each of the words or phrases noted in this paragraph in excess of the permissible at a time of the day when children could be expected to be, and were, listening, in violation of Clause 9(c) of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Broadcaster Responsiveness 

It is the practice of all CBSC Adjudicating Panels to assess the broadcaster’s responsiveness to the complainant.  Although it is, of course, the case that the broadcaster need not agree with the complainant, it is expected that its representatives charged with replying to complaints will address the complainant’s concerns in a thorough and respectful manner.  In the matter at hand, the Panel considers that the response of the Directeur des Resources Humaines et des Affaires corporatives to the complainant was only on the edge of acceptability.  The conclusion of the one paragraph that even refers to the host ends with a reference to the fact that Mailloux’s comments reveal no hostility or incitement of hate, comments that would be relevant to a complaint related to the human rights provisions of the Code of Ethics, a matter that the CBSC has treated in the past with respect to the host’s words on those occasions.  They bear no relevance to the matter under consideration and imply the application of boiler-plate language to this file.  While the Panel is concerned about this lack of attention to the issues raised by the complainant and the substance of the actual broadcast, it finds no breach of the broadcaster’s obligation of responsiveness on this occasion.  The Panel trusts that future responses by this broadcaster will better reflect its obligations of membership in the CBSC. 

 

Decision announcement 

CKAC is required to: 1) announce the decision, in the following terms, once during peak listening hours within three days following the release of this decision and once more within seven days following the release of this decision during the time period in which Doc Mailloux was broadcast; 2) within the fourteen days following the broadcast of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant who filed the Ruling Request; and 3) at that time, to provide the CBSC with a copy of that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by CKAC. 

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that CKAC has breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics in its broadcast of the Doc Mailloux episode of the afternoon of January 24, 2006.  By broadcasting a nasty, excessive and pejorative insult aimed at actor Bruce Willis for harmless comments he had made as a father of two daughters about teen-age boys, CKAC breached Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics, which prohibits the broadcast of unfair and improper comment or opinion.  By broadcasting explicit comments about sexual acts, CKAC breached Clause 9(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics, which prohibits the broadcast of unduly sexually explicit material at a time of the day when children can be expected to be listening to the radio.  By broadcasting coarse and offensive language during the course of that episode, CKAC has also breached the provisions of Clause 9(c) of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits the broadcast of such language at that time of the day.

 

This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.