It’s been six months since Canadian journalist Ezra Levant launched into a nine-minute rant about Roma people on his Sun News Network TV show, The Source. After the segment aired, in which Ezra was reporting on an ethnic crime ring in Toronto, the Canadian Roma community characterized his comments as an “on-air racist hate speech targeting our community.”
Levant referred to Roma people as “a culture synonymous with swindlers … one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.”
While the broadcaster, Sun News, apologized at the time and attempted to distance itself from the remarks, Levant has remained quiet—until today.
Levant’s apology on his television show was not requested by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, but rather a voluntary one in which he said regretting using the words “gypsies” and “gypped” and that his rant “will serve as an example of what not to do when commenting on social issues.” He further said, “as someone who seeks to influence the public debate, I have to think about the words I choose. It’s just wrong to slur a group of people. I made the moral mistake of judging people collectively.”
That said, the apology does serve a secondary purpose, as Sun News Network is currently seeking a placement on basic cable from Canada’s broadcast regulator. And the fact that they’ve been dogged by ethics groups over content, and views voiced by Levant, has made that goal more difficult.
After apologizing, Levant interviewed his boss, Sun News Network vice-president Kory Teneycke, who said the network should have never aired the segment in which Levant, “crossed the line.”