Canadian TV Censors OK On-Air F-Bombs

Regulators rule that parade goers who blurted the swear word during a live news broadcast displayed “innocent enthusiasm.”

TORONTO -- No political correctness here: Canadian TV censors have okayed the "innocent" use of vulgar language during a newscast.

The dropping of the offending f-bombs came during a July 4, 2010 live broadcast by news channel CP24 of Toronto’s annual gay pride parade. “While the broadcaster did not incorporate a tape delay in its coverage, the panel considers that the innocent enthusiasm of the reactions, the infrequent inclusion of the f-word in an unaggressive way in the lengthy event coverage, the contextual basis for the usage, the journalistic nature of the program, and the reaction of the reporters serve as a fair explanation for the use of the f-word during this live broadcast,” the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled, excusing the coarse language on a live broadcast.

During one exchange which drew a written complaint from a TV viewer, CP24 journalist Melissa Grelo asked a gay pride parade bystander how he was feeling, only to be told: “Thank you. This is fucking awesome!” Grelo, quickly removing the microphones, replied “Wow, wow, don’t drop those F-bombs.”

Another roving reporter, Nneka Elliot, soon afterwards was told by an excited female parade-goer before she could fully withdraw the microphone: “I love Pride because everyone is fucking...”

The CBSC panel, which referees the Canadian airwaves on behalf of domestic broadcasters, accepted that certain TV viewers seek a “safe haven” in primetime from coarse language heard during late night hours. But the CBSC also said it has to balance the need for freedom of expression by Canadians appearing on TV. “The securing of a pre-9:00 pm safe haven for the more conservative sector of society is nicely balanced against a more liberal post-9:00 p.m. policy, which imposes virtually no limitations on the use of coarse or offensive language,” the panel concluded.