Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 28, 2007
CBC called on carpet for 'blasphemous' show
CBC approved Altar Boy Gang script prior to production
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"It's not unprecedented for us to put on material that some people would find offensive."
- Jeff Keay
"The Holy Eucharist is sacred to millions of Catholics across Canada and around the world," said Trost, who pointed out this is not the first time the CBC has aired material offensive to Catholics.
Comedian Mary Walsh fed a consecrated host to a dog during one program.
CBC News: Sunday used to run a feature Sunday Confessions where host Evan Solomon would interview guests in a mock confessional.
"Within the past year, the CBC hired an independent Muslim Canadian consultant to ensure that religious sensitivities were respected in its program Little Mosque on the Prairie," said League executive director Joanne McGarry, asking if any Catholic previewed the program.
"If not, why the double standard?" she asked.
The CBC has no plans to run the series or rebroadcast The Altar Boy Gang, made by an independent producer with funding from the Canadian Television Fund (CTF).
"We certainly regret if anyone has taken offence at the program," said CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay in a telephone interview..
The Altar Boy Gang is "an absurdist comedy satire," he said: "I don't think anyone should conclude from that that we intended any disrespect to the Catholic Church or any other religions."
Response to the program has been mixed, with much of it coming from news articles about the program rather than the program itself, he said. Some positive reaction came from "people self-identifying as Catholics who thought it was hilarious and hoped we would make a series out of it.
"It's not unprecedented for us to put on material that some people would find offensive," Keay said, noting it is one of the risks of putting out programming. "You shouldn't take this as a defence of the program," he said.
CTF communications director MaryBeth McKenzie said the application for CTF funding followed their guidelines.
She noted the broadcasters abide by Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics, ensuring programs contain "no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment" based on religion, race, sex and so on.
"It's the broadcaster that determines what kind of program they want to support and air," she said in a telephone interview from Toronto May 22. She said the CBC would have been fully aware of what was in the program and approved the script prior to production.
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