Junos apologize for host Russell Peters’s crude comments

Organizers for the JUNO Awards ceremony, which aired this past Sunday (April 3), are apologizing for offensive comments made by host Russell Peters during the live broadcast.

Allan Reid, president of the JUNOS, addressed Russell’s jokes in a statement after viewers and attendees of the show called out the comedian’s remarks as sexist.

“I want to address the comments made by Russell Peters on our broadcast on Sunday, April 2. We do not, in any way support, nor did we sanction, the off-script remarks Mr. Peters made in regards to the girls and women in attendance at the Awards, along with his inappropriate reference to the Honourable Minister Mélanie Joly,” he said.

The comedian opened the show with a monologue, in which he called young female audience members “felonies waiting to happen.”

Russell then made another quip, jokingly asking why Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly was an award presenter, adding that it didn’t matter because “she’s hot, so who cares?”

Reid’s statement continued to say that Russell’s remarks do not reflect the views of The JUNOS or The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (of which Reid is the CEO).

“CARAS and our charitable arm MusiCounts, conduct significant efforts to engage and support women, particularly funding initiatives for girls in school and community music programs. While we understand that there is still a lot of work to be done in these areas, we firmly believe the first step is empowering females….This incident is not reflective of any views held in our organization.”

Viewers and some Canadian music artists quickly took to Twitter and other social media to blast Russell’s comments.

Musician Sarah Harner tweeted directly to Reid, calling for an official apology.

Ian Campeau, founding member of the Native musical group A Tribe Called Red, slammed Russell on Facebook, calling him a “dirtbag.” His daughters heard the insensitive jokes right after watching their father and his band open the show with a performance honoring missing and murdered indigenous women.

Russell has not yet made any comment regarding the backlash, however, his Twitter account has been “liking” tweets that show support for him. ~Ashleen Grange

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Steve • April 6, 2017 @ 9:45 AM

    What cultural fascists don’t comprehend is that humour shouldn’t have limits or restrictions. Humour may sometimes be in poor taste, but bad taste is an essential component of artistic expression.

  2. Pamela Jessen • April 6, 2017 @ 11:25 AM

    I remember a time when Russell Peters was funny without being offensive…and I remember thinking at the time, what a rare talent that is nowadays. He could have me laughing about his observations of life, and he didn’t need to swear or attack any particular race or religion, etc. to do it.

    I miss that Russell Peters.

  3. cherie • April 6, 2017 @ 11:40 AM

    Although I may not agree with what Russell did we must also acknowledge he is a comedian and sometimes what they say can be misconstrued. Maybe we should not have comedians hosting shows of this nature if it is being felt by some that some topics are not appropriate.

    Comedy is like art some may like it some may not.

    I do not believe it was Mr Peters intention to offend.

    This is only my opinion and we are after all allowed one.

    To not hurting but understanding is all we can ask for.



  4. Alicia • April 6, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

    What Steve and others like him don’t understand is that there are places where humour without limit or restrictions is not appropriate. Were this at a club or on one of his specials, I would agree that his artistic expression shouldn’t be based on what some may find offensive. In this case, he was hired as the emcee for an awards show and as such should have realized he was beholden to the tone that the Junos wished to set. You would not assume that humour at a workplace or a children’s school should be without boundaries and Russel Peters should not have assumed he was hired to make off-script jokes at the expense of women.

  5. CDubya • April 6, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

    He was probably told to be edgy. He wanted the show to be more like US awards shows. Really, I think some people would understand what he meant (FYI we don’t have Felony offences in Canada, it’s Indictable or Summary Conviction offences, which is why I think he spends too much time in ‘Merica to be hosting a Canadian awards show).. You can’t go over all the jokes ahead of time for a live show and try to censor them. He also thinks off the top of his head and is very good at just making funny comments out of the most innocent things. Yes this pushed a boundary, but I don’t think he meant it to blow up like this. I think we just aren’t used to it up here in the Great White North awards circuit.

  6. Esther • April 6, 2017 @ 12:44 PM

    A comedian can be funny without being offensive. Russell crossed a line. Period.

  7. WDG • April 6, 2017 @ 12:57 PM

    Why are the Junos apologizing? The apology should be coming from Peters directly!

  8. Elizabeth • April 6, 2017 @ 1:02 PM

    Russell Peters is not a mean person, he also has a daughter he loves very much and he has never been offensive towards women. It is the Job of Organizers to review the script. All celebrates whether giving interviews or hosting have people “handlers” that review the questions and in this case definitely it was reviewed and approved by the Juno Organizers especially if the Prime Minister of our beautiful country is there.

  9. Dawn • April 6, 2017 @ 2:22 PM

    Juno Organizers’ apology was “nor did we sanction”. They should have sanctioned the felony joke but saying “she’s hot” has been used by comedians Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey on the Academy Awards, Emmy’s etc. the same with Russell Peters as a compliment.

  10. Kris • April 6, 2017 @ 2:26 PM

    The Junos or Peters don’t need to apologize. It is comedy…move on. Everybody needs to stop being so sensitive.

  11. Karl • April 6, 2017 @ 3:23 PM

    We are becoming too sensitive and serious as Canadians. What happened to the saying, “sticks and stones make break my bones but words will never matter.”

    Russell is a great comedian and loved by millions all over the world and they get his humour and his art!

    Maybe next time get Kathleen Wynne to host and see how that goes! Lol

  12. Shelley • April 6, 2017 @ 3:41 PM

    To those men who feel the rest of us are too sensitive-we are the ones who have been raped, or had a family member beaten by an abusive partner, a child sexually abused, a sister date raped……we are tired of men reducing women to body parts that are then judged. We don’t care if we are hot, its not a joke- just stop the violence!

  13. MA • April 6, 2017 @ 3:54 PM

    Canadians LOVE to pat themselves on the back for being ‘so nice’, a load of BS..I live in Canada and they are no nicer than anywhere else…..Peters has just proved that. What a stupid thing to say but, these people think they above reproach. Canadians will be having palpitations being compared to Americans!!! Loser.

  14. Steve • April 6, 2017 @ 4:06 PM

    Alicia: I do understand. I get your point. But the Junos is not a kid’s show. Show we homogenize everything because children might be watching? That infantilizes our society. This is a bad road to take.

  15. Mikal • April 6, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

    I wish Bill Hicks was still alive. We need his wisdom now more than ever.

  16. Dusty • April 6, 2017 @ 8:41 PM

    Oh give it a break, everything today is racist, bullying, women’s rights I am sick and tired of it all, and who cares. You can’t even dislike someone today or you are racist. media people come on with their sad faces about racist only when it is non white. You can say what you want about white people it is never considered racist. Leave the man alone and grow a thick skin.

  17. tristan • April 6, 2017 @ 11:39 PM

    C’mon, if anyone has ever seen his show, knows his whole comedic routine is created around racist and sexist stereotypes.

  18. Debbie • April 7, 2017 @ 12:06 AM

    I wasn’t offended by anything he said, but I was surprised that Prime Minister Trudeau attended. Didn’t he take away an arts tax credit or something? (And fitness).

  19. Teedee • April 7, 2017 @ 7:48 PM

    Russell Peters (who I used to really like) and others like him need to leave the dark ages behind and get with the times. There is no place for sexist remarks by either side. Period. He needs to apologize for his offensive remarks and realize this is 2017.

  20. j_blue • April 8, 2017 @ 10:03 AM

    Just to remind everyone about 2 little things called :


    You don’t have to listen to anyone’s comments if you don’t wish to, but to censor them !!

    Go read Orwell’s “1984”, all of you fascists!!!

  21. Murphy • April 10, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

    Yes, but freedom of speech does not extend to hate speech or speech in which you’re denigrating a certain gender or race. If he hates women and likes to belittle them (hm, are we wondering anymore why his wife filed for divorce?), he can keep that to his comedy routine that people pay to see. Not an awards show in which he’s the host and people HAVE to put up with him in order to see the rest of the show.

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