News anchor's slurs go on the air

CTV news anchor’s slurs go on the air
Didn’t know microphone was on


B’deh, b’deh, b’deh … that’s all folks.

CTV NewsNet anchor Avery Haines apologized yesterday morning after insulting lesbians, blacks and the disabled on-air when a studio microphone was inadvertently left on.

The newscaster for the all-news cable channel made the remarks about 8:33 a.m. after verbally stumbling while introducing a taped report on aid to farmers.

When the tape failed to run, the camera remained on Haines. Not realizing she was still on air, Haines made a self-deprecating comment about the stumble.

“I kind of like the little stuttering thing. It’s like equal opportunity, right?” she said. "We’ve got a stuttering newscaster. We’ve got the black, we’ve got the Asian, we’ve got the woman. I could be a lesbian, folk-dancing, black woman stutterer.

“What’s that?” Haines said appearing to be listening to another employee.

“In a wheelchair …” she said, laughing.

Then she continued: “… with a gimping, rubber legs. Yeah really. I’d have a successful career, let me tell you.”

She then went back to her newscast, apparently unaware she had been on camera the whole time.

An ashen-faced Haines apologized for the blunder about 90 minutes later.

“We’ve received several phone calls this morning from viewers who were upset about some comments that were unintentionally aired on CTV NewsNet earlier today,” she said.

“Those viewers were right to call because the comments were insulting and derogatory and they in no way reflect my views or those of CTV Television. On behalf of myself and on behalf of CTV News, I would offer a full and sincere apology. I’m Avery Haines.”

Irate viewers flooded the network with complaint calls.

“It’s not something you hear every day,” said Karen Moncour, a viewer in St. Catharines, Ont., who said she was shocked by the on-air comments.

“I felt surprised and I actually started yelling at the TV set, telling her to be quiet.”

Bob Hurst, CTV’s vice-president of news, refused to comment, saying the incident is under investigation.

Can you say, “I’m Avery Haines…would you like fries with that?”

“The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his ribcage.” --anonymous redhead

Now we know what kind of deranged people actually call in to complain about TV shows.

I remember watching two attractive female anchors doing the “chit-chat” thing after the weather segment, discussing the upcoming mild temperatures:

Weather anchor: So tomorrow we’re definitely looking at 69.

News anchor: Mmmmmm…69 sounds great!

Weather anchor: I could definitely go for 69.

Serious! No joke!

“My hovercraft is full of eels.”

I don’t really understand how thats the least bit insulting to those groups. Have we gotten to the point that saying the words “wheelchair” and “lesbian” are derrogatory? I take it as a joke ripping on the hiring practices of the news channels (somewhat accurately I might add), she said nothing insulting. I suppose one could take offense to the word “gimping”, although in context I imagine its misheard to be “gimpy”, but the word “gimp” is not a slang word with negative connotations any more than “niggardly” is.

I can understand her getting in trouble for insulting the stations hiring practices on air, or some political heat for being interpereted as insulting affirmative action, but I fail to see where th outrage comes from over the mention of the minority groups.

Well, “niggardly” isn’t a slang word at all, actually, and (idiotic past controversies over its use notwithstanding) it’s neither here nor there in this discussion. “Gimp” is a slang term, and it’s offensive. I don’t know about the etymology – MW10 says Damon Runyon – but if we’re talking about connotations, the connotations of “gimp” are certainly offensive.

For the other issue, I imagine the annoyance comes not from the mere mention of the words, but from the implication that minority status is the only reason that a black, Asian, lesbian, etc. would have a job at the station. To say that someone is present to fill a quota is offensive, and were I such an employee at the station, I’d be pretty irritated.


Catrandom: A station would be absolutely stupid in all ways to hire someone ONLY because they are a member of a minority group. The people they employ generally have a lot going for them. But do you truly believe that there is NO emphasis on minority hiring?

I judge people on whether or not they have character…good or evil persons. Race is unimportant.

But the use of the word “offensive” so much disturbs me. Fat people are just that…but its offensive to say that. One must say stout or portly or heavy or overweight. The truth of the matter is that these people ARE fat.

Offensive to use the word “crippled”. One must say 'physically challenged" and so on.

Also the people that lose their jobs because of some offensive remarks: Blacks are in general better athletes than whites. Do any of you members believe that is untrue? I believe it is true.

Main Entry: 4gimp
Function: intransitive verb
Date: 1948
: LIMP, HOBBLE <gimping up the stairs>

Main Entry: 3gimp
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1929
2 : LIMP <walks with a gimp – Damon Runyon>

  • gimpy /'gim-pE/ adjective

Well, Webster’s doesn’t consider gimp a slang word, so I don’t know what gives us the authority to label it as such. Sounds like a bunch of rabid PCism on the rampage.

Being in the construction industry, I know there are contracts we don’t bid on just because our owner is a white male. Why waste the time when we would have to subcontract a substantial part of the work to a minority contractor? I’ve thought lately that black lesbians have it made in the social climate today. I forgot about the wheelchair. Also, the woman who shouts at her TV is really scary.

Disable Smilies in this post.

Not so fast, you mucko!

IMHO, it’s not so much what she said. It’s that she failed to follow a rule that most people in the broadcast entertainment industry follow–if there’s no indication otherwise, assume all mikes are on. She could have been talking about anything, and it still would have looked silly on camera. The fact that she was talking about the station’s hiring practices just makes it that much worse.

“The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his ribcage.” --anonymous redhead

A local radio DJ once started jokingly referring to one of his coworkers as a gimp on the air. Within an hour, he was back on the air apologizing. Apparently he had heard the term used in the movie Pulp Fiction but he had thought it was made up and hadn’t realized it specifically refered to handicapped people.

LOL! OK, I give on your etymology, but I – a Catholic and a conservative Republican – have never been called “PC” before! I just happen to think that “gimp” is a loaded term, right up there with “deaf and dumb,” which isn’t slang either. I certainly wouldn’t call any disabled person of my acquaintance a “gimp” – or a “cripple,” for that matter.

Agreeing to disagree,


I know, I know, and you’re quite right. If the five most qualified people for a news team were five Asian women, there is nonetheless no way that a news team made up of five Asian women gets on the air. I suppose that people in the TV biz are well aware of the role race and gender play in hiring for on-air jobs, and realize that it’s just part of the deal. But stating it, especially in facetious terms, seems crude and insensitive to the feelings of fellow employees who have, presumably, worked hard for their positions. Which doesn’t change the fact of it, I suppose.

We certainly are :slight_smile: And, in fat support circles, that’s what we call it and prefer other people to call it. But you’re quite right; many fat people who aren’t involved in fat support don’t care to be called “fat.” (They still are).


Reluctantly backing down,


An update for you

They canned her!

tenspeedjohn sez:

I’d say.

Maybe it was inappropriate, but it was FUNNY!

Damn PC cops, all out in a vengeance…

She was canned, eh? Wow… Maybe a reprimand was in order, just for the lack of professionalism, but I was not offended by what she said at all.

Reminds me of Drew Carry’s line about how to tell a joke when having to cow-tow to the PC Cops.

“A man walked into a bar. That’s it…”

Heck, I’m sure some alcoholic would be offended at THAT even…

Yer pal,

IIRC she was a “probationary” employee, meaning she didn’t have the job nailed down yet. So she could be fired much more readily than somebody like, say, Dan Rather might have been if he had, for example, walked off in the middle of a broadcast.

Still I find this sorry kind of sad, because this could be the end of her whole career.

I guess I’m not surprised that they fired her for the comments. While I don’t think they were particularly offensive, and obviously made in a joking manner, many of these minority groups pounce at the slightest comment - the TV station could ill afford to have it’s entire minority audience base switching to a different channel as a “boycott”.

That said, come on. I mean, really. This is PC at it’s worst - did anyone see the letter by Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow-PUSH coalition about the firing of Ray Rhodes as the coach of the Green Bay Packers? I mean, the idea that it was racially motivated seems not only far fetched, but seems to send the message that teams shouldn’t hire black coaches for fear of the wrath of Jesse Jackson if ever they should be fired. Bravo to Tom Dungy’s comments on the issue.

Back to the OP, all said and done, wouldn’t you think that you would be just a little more careful about your comments when you are sitting at a newsdesk with a microphone and cameras on you - even if they are “off the air”. I mean, catch Dan Rather making some off-the-cuff comment “off the air” and see what happens if the “off the air” tape gets circulated by a disgruntled minority employee.

Tough lesson, but I bet she learned something (and I’ll bet she received a healthy $$ payoff from CTV to keep her mouth shut about CTV’s comments regarding the issue). And I wouldn’t worry about her carreer - look at Howard Stern et al. - those shock jocks change stations all the time - new audience, new channel, new carreer path.

At the site posted by Manduck2, they had an online survey, asking if she should have been fired. 68% said no.

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.