HRC Subscriber Published In The Toronto Star: Awards Ceremony Not The Time To Speak On Issues

June 3, 2024

On May 30, HRC subscriber Jacqueline Mills’ letter was published in the Toronto Star, after HonestReporting Canada published an alertregarding a May 17 column by Toronto Star’s Shree Paradker, in which she defended an anti-Israel activist for taking advantage of their platform at an awards ceremony to abuse Israel.

Mills rebutted Paradker, stating that Kagiso Molope’s opinion is no more important than anyone else, and it was wrong of her to take advantage of the situation. If every person wanted to abuse their platform to speak on an issue they felt passionate about, every single awards ceremony would be disrupted consistently.

Awards ceremony not the time to speak on issues

Any artist who feels he or she has the right to express their views while disrupting an awards ceremony is working on the principle that their ideas are more important than anyone else’s and that they have the right, perhaps the obligation to spoil happy occasions for others in order to do so. Shree Parakadar’s column reported on Kagiso Molope’s speech and the writer’s claim that it is difficult for artists to “speak out.”

Other artists may have had other issues that were important to them or opposing views to Molope’s. They too, according to her, have the right and obligation to “speak out.”

If all artists followed Molope’s example we could have a debate every time the Junos or Oscars came around as every artist spoke out on any issue she or he felt passionate about. An awards ceremony is not the time to spout one’s views.

Jacqueline Mills,
Kingston, Ontario


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