CARAS joins chorus of condemnation over Russell Peters’ JUNO remarks

The association behind the JUNO Awards has joined the chorus of condemnation aimed at comedian Russell Peters over comments he made Sunday evening during the 2017 JUNO Awards broadcast in Ottawa.

Peter called federal Heritage minister Melanie Joly “hot” just before she presented an award with artist Coleman Hell.

“With him is the minister of heritage, Melanie Joly,” Peters co-host Bryan Adams said.

“I don’t know why, but she’s hot, so who cares?” Peters is quoted as saying in media reports.

Peters also commented during the broadcast on the number of young women in the audience, suggesting it was a “felony waiting to happen.”

Speaking outside the House of Commons on Monday Joly called Peters’ comments inappropriate.

The president and CEO of CARAS (The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) weighed in Tuesday afternoon with a statement on the association’s website.

Here is Allan Reid’s statement:

“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.”

Peters has not commented on the uproar.


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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.