Petition launched to have Canadian comedy troupe’s B.C. show cancelled

Signatures are piling up on an online petition to have the performance of a Canadian comedy group cancelled after it was revealed the group was selling t-shirts making fun of the Robert Pickton case.

The t-shirts, which retail for just under $35, remain sold out online on Tuesday morning. They show two men on the front, one depicting Pickton with the line, “Over 50 flavours of hookery smoked bacon.”

The petition was started Monday and takes direct aim at Danger Cats and their show at House of Comedy in New Westminster on Mar. 24.

“The murder of women should never be a basis for any kind of comedy. The families of all those women should not have to deal with this on top of everything they have already been through. It’s a painful reminder that their loved ones’ lives are being used as material for insensitive jokes,” part of the petition noted.

The goal is 500 signatures.

Family members of Pickton’s victims are just some of those who have commented on the petition, sharing their anger and hurt.

“My sister was MURDERED on the Pickton farm and although I LOVE COMEDY there is NOTHING funny about any one of these murders,” Carrie Kerr wrote.

The sister of a woman by the same name was among the 20 victims Pickton was charged with killing, but was never convicted.

Kristina Kearley wrote, “This garbage and the people it empowers and creates a platform for makes our neighbourhood unsafe. Boycott House Of Comedy until they cancel.”

CityNews reached out to Danger Cats for comment repeatedly but did not hear back. Instead, the group has taken to social media, posting a mock apology video that ends with one member saying they’re on “The spite tour, not the apology tour.”

The venue tells CityNews it will not be cancelling the show, but it has “taken note” of the merchandise.

“Our organization values the principles of free speech and artistic expression. Comedy, as a diverse and subjective form of entertainment, often explores a range of topics that can be interpreted differently by individuals. The decision to book Danger Cats was made with a commitment to providing a platform for various comedic styles and perspectives,” it says in a statement.

After community advocates recently spoke up in Winnipeg, the group’s show was cancelled in that city. It also surfaced that some of the group’s material included taking jabs at Residential Schools and unmarked burial sites.

This story has also prompted B.C. Premier David Eby to address families’ concerns.

“I just really encourage this group to think carefully about this sad attempt at humour and to apologize to the families of the victims.”

On Monday, Lorelei Williams, whose cousin’s DNA was found on Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm, told CityNews the group was “racist, misogynistic, comedians who are making money off of this.”

Pickton was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder in December 2007. When the Supreme Court of Canada upheld his sentence, first-degree murder charges involving 20 other women, including Holyk, were stayed as Pickton was already serving the maximum sentence.

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