Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscribers, Last week, we alerted you to Quebec TV show host Stéphane Gendron’s offensive comments where he shockingly claimed Israel indiscriminately murders innocent Palestinians with bulldozers. As you may recall, Gendron, whose vitriolic anti-Israel tirades are well known, gave his opinion on Canada’s decision to keep UNESCO funding at current levels, while ceasing further volunteer payments, after the organization admitted “Palestine” as a member. Gendron declared the following on the November 2 broadcast of Face à Face on V Television:
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, decided not to make further contributions to UNESCO, why? Because the U.S. decided to cut its funding, why? Because Palestine dared to be admitted to UNESCO. This is appalling! It is an affront to peace! Do you know what Israel did? In revenge forthe admissionof Palestineto UNESCO,they decidedto build2000homesin areasthat donot belong to them, the occupied territories, so they are going to bulldoze people, kill people, they will give them 5 minutes to get out and then they’ll run people down with bulldozers. And Canada supports this.“
In our critique of Gendron’s comments, we noted there is neither basis nor precedent for such Israeli actions. Further, Gendron’s accusations crossed the line from legitimate opinion to inflammatory libel. A frequent occurrence for this habitual anti-Israel offender.
More than 150 HRC members responded to our call to action by registering complaints with V television network. Furthermore, our Youtube clip of Gendron’s comments was viewed over 20,000 times. The National Post also weighed in, publishing an editorial in last Saturday’s edition (see below) entitled “Bulldozing the facts”. The editorial shone the spotlight on Stéphane Gendron declaring that his statements had constituted “a vicious libel”.
Earlier this week, the management at V television issued the following reply to complainants:
“We received the e-mail you sent to Mr. Maxime Remillard last week concerning the opinions expressed by Stéphane Gendron during the November 2nd broadcast of Face à Face on the V television network.
Face à Face is a public affairs show that touches on numerous topics of interest and aims to provoke debate and discussion. This program is neither a news telecast nor a news magazine, and its hosts are not journalists. The opinions expressed on the program are those of the individual hosts or their guests. As such, they do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the V television network or its management.
Following the broadcast of the November 2nd episode of Face à face, the management of V has spoken to the production team responsible for the program. In order to avoid repeating a similar occurrence in the future, we have reiterated the need for the program to adhere to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s guidelines.
We deeply regret if the comments expressed on one of our programs were offending to you.
Diane Patenaude Directrice des communications · V Interactions”
We find this response wholly unsatisfactory. While the opinions expressed on the program may be those of the host and may not necessarily reflect the views of the V network or its management, V is responsible for the information they broadcast. The dissemination of hateful libel necessitates a remedy to undo the damage done by this hateful act. This entails at the very least a public apology, the issuance of a corrective, as well as disciplining Gendron for his vicious attack on Jews and Israel.
Simply ‘reiterating’ the need for the program to adhere to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s guidelines does not in any way constitute a satisfactory remedy for the libel and the resultant damage done. Without redress, Face à Face’s TV viewers may still be under the impression that Israel is planning to “bulldoze and kill people, giving them 5 minutes to leave before they run them down with bulldozers”, since no retraction or remedy has been offered by V.
Therefore, as of the present, V has allowed itself to be a platform for the dissemination of vicious libel. In so doing, it has tarnished its standing as a reputable television network. Having already filed a complaint, we are currently seeking the assistance of the Canadian Broadcast Standard’s Council to rectify this situation in a manner befitting broadcast standards. We reiterate our call for a public apology and for Stéphane Gendron to be immediately terminated as TV host of Face à Face.