Jewish groups have welcomed the termination of a Toronto radio show that aired classical anti-Semitic tropes.
Corus Entertainment announced late last month that it had fired veteran broadcaster Gary Bell and cancelled his weekly program, A View From Space, following complaints of anti-Semitic content on the show.
On his Nov. 11 broadcast on AM640 in Toronto, Bell, known by his on-air handle “The Spaceman,” described the “Illuminati-controlled mass media,” the threat of a one-world government and an impending world war driven by “satanic forces” trying to take control of global finances.
He also spoke about “crypto-Jews” who belong to secret societies, “Judeo-Freemasonry,” powerful Jewish financiers from Europe, the bloodlines of Cain and Judah, as well as some bizarre theories about Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler and B’nai Brith.
‘The station’s response serves as a model for other media outlets.’
On Nov. 18, Corus aired an apology.
“Last week’s AM640 broadcast of A View from Space, hosted by Gary Bell, included remarks and viewpoints that ran counter to Corus Entertainment policies, in regards to discrimination on matters of race, religion, national origin and ethnicity. Mr. Bell’s comments were unacceptable and problematic, in that they included references to material that can only be viewed as anti-Semitic,” the apology stated.
“We sincerely apologize to our listeners and anyone else who was offended by Mr. Bell’s comments. Corus Radio recognizes that our broadcast licences are a privilege. Therefore, we are taking strong and immediate steps to ensure such an episode is never repeated.”
Asked whether Bell had engaged in anti-Semitic statements prior to this incident, Corus spokesperson Rishma Govani said, “Not to my knowledge.”
Bell’s show ran Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the National Hockey League season, and from 8 p.m. to midnight in the off-season.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and B’nai Brith Canada said they had been working on the issue for the past few weeks.
CIJA’s Noah Shack commended AM640 for taking “swift and extraordinary actions to address this serious incident. The station’s response serves as a model for other media outlets responding to incidents of hate and we are pleased that this matter has been fully resolved.”
Bell’s show was an attack on Jews and B’nai Brith specifically, remarked B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn, who also praised the station for addressing the incident in “an exemplary manner.”
“In 2016, Canadian Jews were the most targeted victims of hate crimes, according to Statistics Canada. Mr. Bell’s comments were odious and serve only to fan the flames of hatred. HonestReporting Canada commends Corus Radio for taking these necessary steps to ensure that hateful anti-Semitic content and commentary is not broadcast on its programming,” said Mike Fegelman, executive director of HonestReporting Canada.
Officials from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) said they had reached out to Corus Entertainment and the station to offer “tolerance training.”
The FSWC noted that the incident at AM640 came at the same time as a campus radio station in Winnipeg suspended a show after anti-Semitic conspiracy theories spouted by a guest went unchallenged.
As reported by The CJN’s Prairie correspondent, Myron Love, Toronto-based conspiracy theorist Sydney White appeared on University of Winnipeg radio station CKUW – also on Nov. 11.
On the show, Where Angels Fear to Tread, White told listeners that Israelis had gassed and cremated the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks; that American-Jewish businessman Larry Silverstein profited from the disaster; and that Jewish bankers fomented the Russian Revolution.
A Globe and Mail article from 2010 about whether conspiracy theorists have infiltrated the media noted that Bell “sallies forth rhetorically for three hours every Saturday night, specializing in arcane numerology and the shadowy backstage cabal known as the Illuminati. According to Mr. Bell, it runs the world.”
*This story was modified from the original posting to correct an error. The story had misattributed a quote praising Bell to the website conspiracyculture.com when, in fact, the quote was a slogan AM640 had used to describe Bell’s program. The CJN regrets the error.