CKUW 95.9, a campus radio station that’s partially funded by University of Winnipeg student fees, is in full damage control mode, after airing an interview with Toronto-based conspiracy theorist Sydney White, which critics say was littered with anti-Semitic tropes.
According to a press release from B’nai Brith Canada, in the course of the interview on Nov. 11, conducted by CKUW’s April Cherpaw, host of the show, Where Angels Fear to Tread, White told listeners that Israelis had gassed and cremated the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and accused American-Jewish businessman Larry Silverstein of profiting from the disaster. She also repeatedly described the United States as “Zionist America,” and accused Jewish bankers of fomenting the Russian Revolution.
She also alleged that a Toronto newspaper that has refused to cover her talks is owned by “Zionists.”
Since 2000, she has been giving lectures in Toronto, titled, “Studies in Propaganda,” in which she has spouted conspiracy theories on 9/11, corporate crimes, radiation, oil spills, presidential assassinations and vaccines, among other things.
Cherpaw, who is also a member of the station’s board of directors, reportedly did not challenge or disagree with her guest.
Following a complaint from B’nai Brith, the station management took immediate action. Management suspended the show for six weeks. Station manager Rob Schmidt said in a press release that Cherpaw has resigned from the board of directors and will have to meet specific conditions before returning to the air.
“April has otherwise had a positive history with CKUW,” said Schmidt. “In no way does this excuse the unacceptable radio programming produced on Nov. 11; rather, it leads us to believe that she is capable of being a better ambassador of our station.”
In addition, station management has invited a B’nai Brith representative to appear on CKUW to discuss the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, as recorded in its Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2016.
‘We commend CKUW for taking action against anti-Semitism on the air.’
Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, responded to the CKUW’s prompt countermeasures by stating that, “We commend CKUW for taking action against anti-Semitism on the air. This hateful content was totally inappropriate for any Canadian radio station, let alone one financed in part by mandatory student fees.”
“As expressed in our letter to B’nai Brith Canada,” Schmidt added, “CKUW holds a unique position in our community as a volunteer access radio station. We follow a mandate to provide an alternative voice and to engage our campus and community in radio. Jewish students from the University of Winnipeg are always welcome at CKUW, as well as Jewish community members. We acknowledge that the programming in question was unacceptable and we are deeply sorry to those offended by the broadcast in question.
“In accordance with CRTC regulations, we are managed by the non-profit Winnipeg Campus/Community Radio Society. We take our responsibility as a broadcaster very seriously. All volunteers are subject to training and continuing review of their programming. All volunteers sign a code of conduct and are expected to have a high standard of programming at all times.”