Russell Peters has found himself in some hot water as of late, after going off-script during last week's Juno Awards. The famous comedian was selected to emcee the celebration of Canadian music, which is widely watched and often dubbed the Canuck Grammys. The weekend may have had some welcome surprises, such as Jazz Cartier, Kaytranada, and A Tribe Called Red all taking home some well-deserved hardware, but perhaps the most unexpected and uncomfortable moment came from the host himself. Peters, who has yet to comment on the matter, cracked a couple of inappropriate jokes right at the top of Sunday's show which sent social media into a bit of a tizzy.
During the opening minutes of the telecast, Russell Peters riffed about young girls in the front row of the audience being a "felony waiting to happen." Later on in the show, he introduced Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly whom he alluded to as being out of place and openly mocked her by saying, "she's hot, so who cares?" Suffice to say, there were a good amount of people who were quick to call out the stand-up on social media. Former Juno and Polaris winner, Tanya Tagaq took to her Twitter account to denounce Peters' comments.
Melanie Joly, who found herself at the centre of Peters' questionable remarks, publicly expressed her disgust to media this past Monday. Speaking with the Canadian Press, Joly claimed that the joke was “clearly inappropriate,” and added that “this type of humour does not have a place at the Junos.” After remaining quiet on the matter, officials from the Juno Awards have now released their own statement. CARAS president, Allan Reid, has issued an apology to those affected by the lewd comments. You can read his entire release below.
"On behalf of CARAS and The JUNO Awards, I want to address the comments made by Russell Peters on our broadcast on Sunday, April 2. We do not, in any way support, nor did we sanction, the off-script remarks Mr. Peters made in regards to the girls and women in attendance at the Awards, along with his inappropriate reference to the Honourable Minister Mélanie Joly.
CARAS and our charitable arm MusiCounts, conduct significant efforts to engage and support women, particularly funding initiatives for girls in school and community music programs. While we understand that there is still a lot of work to be done in these areas, we firmly believe the first step is empowering females.
CARAS, The JUNO Awards, and myself, deeply apologize for the upset this has caused. This incident is not reflective of any views held in our organization.
President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts"