Negative and Degrading Comments Breach Broadcast Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 14, 2013 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made on the Dean Blundell Show broadcast on CFNY-FM (102.1 The Edge, Toronto).  The morning show hosts made comments about wrestling and homosexuality which the CBSC found to be discriminatory, stereotyping and degrading under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.  The hosts also made light of the accidental death of a 17-year-old male, which the CBSC considered inappropriate under the CAB Code of Ethics.

On January 17, 2013, Edge morning show hosts Dean Blundell and Todd Shapiro discussed a news story from the United States about a 17-year-old male who died after accidentally getting stuck upside down inside a rolled-up gym mat at his high school.  Although the report did not state that the young man participated in high school wrestling, the Edge hosts proceeded to talk about how wrestling was a “gay” sport because “you just jump on him [one’s opponent] and smother him with your privates”.  Shapiro then suggested that perhaps the young man had crawled into the mat on purpose because he was ashamed of the things he had done at wrestling practice to which Blundell responded “like finger-hooked a couple dudes”.  Shapiro also commented “You can’t even punch him [one’s opponent] in the face!” after he does such things to you.

The CBSC received two complaints about the broadcast alleging that the hosts had given the impression that young people should be ashamed if they engage in a “gay” sport or other homosexual activities and had perpetuated negative stereotypes about homosexuality.  CFNY-FM responded that the program is intended to be satirical and sarcastic.

The CBSC’s Ontario Regional Panel concluded that the mere use of the word “gay” was not problematic and the comments had not promoted violence against homosexuals, but that they had presented an unduly discriminatory, stereotypical, degrading and negative presentation of homosexuals contrary to the CAB Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.  The Panel also concluded that the comments trivialized the student’s tragic death; this constituted improper commentary under the CAB Code of Ethics.

Due to the Dean Blundell Show’s repeated violations of the private broadcasters’ codes, in order to remain a member of the CBSC, the broadcaster is required to provide a concrete indication of the measures which it intends to put in place to avoid further similar violations of the codes.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 760 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab