Photo: Simone Hayter

RIOT poster found offensive

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By Natalie Alcoba

Ryerson’s annual comedy show has gotten a slap on the wrist about jokes cracked on one of the posters advertising this year’s event.

The advertisements were pulled off Ryerson’s walls three days after going up because a student complained about one of them, even though it had been approved by RyeSAC.

Six different posters for Riot, a show of comedic skits put on by radio and television arts students, went up Feb. 25.

Ryerson’s discrimination and harassment prevention services received a complaint from a female Polish student on Feb. 27 about one of the posters, which read “55-year-old Joel Garner, of Bell Canada, shimmies up an average of 76 poles a day. What most people don’t know is that Joel is legally blind. And that’s why I can call Poland as much as I want for free.”

Michelle Walker, a spokesperson for Riot said the student “thought the posters were offensive to Polish people and towards Poland, and she thought the show was going to have jokes about Poland.”

Walker, a second-year radio and television arts student, said the posters were only done to grab people’s attention.

Josh Sager, head writer for Riot, said the show does not target any ethnic groups. “No matter what you do, some people will get offended.”

The posters were taken down Feb. 28.

This is not the first time a RyeSAC- approved poster has received a complaint.

Last year a student complained about a poster that advertised a graphic communications management slave auction to raise money for a GCM graduation trip. The poster had “Slave 4 a Day” written on it.

Ryerson’s harassment office cancelled the event after the student complained again about a modified poster that read “Servant for a Day.”

RyeSAC is supposed to approve all posters that up on campus.

But when Riot members went to get their stamp of approval, a RyeSAC employee let them stamp the posters without looking at the contents, said Walker.

Leatrice Spevack, campus groups administrator, said this is not common practice.

“Normally things are scrutinized more carefully,” said Spevack. “I would not have authorized it. I would have checked further into it.”

To prevent this from happening again, Spevack will look at all posters that mention any country, especially if they have humorous undertones.  

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