Controversial Comedy Group Cancels Vancouver Show Over Offensive T-Shirts

A planned performance by a controversial comedy group in Metro Vancouver has been cancelled due to backlash over offensive T-shirts.

Controversial T-Shirts Spark Outrage

A planned performance by the Danger Cats, a comedy group from Alberta, in Metro Vancouver has been abruptly cancelled after facing widespread criticism for their offensive T-shirts. The T-shirts depicted Robert “Willy” Pickton, a notorious Canadian serial killer, grinning and holding a slice of bacon with the caption “Pickton Farms, over 50 flavours of hookery smoked bacon.”

For those unfamiliar with Pickton, he was convicted in 2007 for six counts of second-degree murder, with suspicions of involvement in at least 49 murders, many of them sex workers. The Crown even stayed charges in another 20 killings after his conviction. The mere mention of Pickton's name sends shivers down the spine of many Canadians, let alone trivializing his heinous crimes on merchandise.

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Backlash and Cancellation

The firestorm of criticism that erupted over the offensive T-shirts led to the cancellation of Danger Cats' upcoming performance at New Westminster’s House of Comedy. The controversy was so intense that the group also decided to cancel their shows in Edmonton and Ottawa.

Defending the Joke

In an attempt to salvage their reputation, Danger Cats took to social media to defend their controversial joke. They claimed that comedians aim to make people laugh and bring joy, not to dehumanize or offend anyone. However, the public outcry was too overwhelming for them to ignore.

Even after removing the Pickton shirt from their website and stating that proceeds would go to charity, doubts were raised about the sincerity of their actions. It's clear that some jokes simply do not land well, especially when they touch on sensitive topics like violent crimes.

Calls for Apology

The fallout from this debacle extended beyond just cancelled shows. The B.C.’s First Nations Leadership Council called on Danger Cats to apologize to Pickton's victims and their families, who were deeply re-traumatized by the group's actions. The insensitivity displayed in making light of such a tragic event did not sit well with many.

Already dealing with the painful memories of losing their loved ones, the families of Pickton's victims should not have to endure further distress from tasteless attempts at humor. The boundary between comedy and cruelty must be respected, especially when addressing such sensitive subject matter.

Continued Controversy

This is not the first time Danger Cats have found themselves embroiled in controversy during their cross-country tour. Prior to the Vancouver show cancellation, venues in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay had already decided not to host the group due to backlash over jokes about residential schools and unmarked graves.

It seems that pushing the envelope can sometimes lead to tearing it open entirely, revealing a lack of sensitivity and awareness of the impact of words and actions. While comedy is meant to entertain, it should never come at the expense of causing harm or offense.

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mohamed Rahat

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