Is that "freedom of expression" for the comedian, or "freedom from harassment" for the audience member?
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal that the comedian, Earle, had violated the Human Rights Code when he included homophobic and sexist zingers in his role as the MC of an open-mic night at Zesty's Restaurant on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. That decision was recently upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court. Earle and Zesty's were ordered to pay damage totalling $22,500.
The court held that, while Earle's freedom of expression was infringed, the infringement to protect against harassment on the basis of sex and sexual orientation was legally justifiable.
The case has been a controversial one with many commentators - including for example the queer magazine Xtra - taking the position that the complainants should get a life and find something more important to complain about.
What do you think?