A standup comic at the centre of a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint says he's no bigot, after two audience members complained he unleashed a tirade of homophobic and sexist insults at them.
Lorna Pardy filed a complaint alleging she and her lesbian partner were the targets the offensive comments made by Guy Earle, who was hosting the open mic night at Zesty's Restaurant on Commercial Drive in May 2007.
Earle doesn't deny he was offensive, but claims Pardy and her same-sex partner first rudely heckled him, along with the amateur comics onstage that night.
He told CBC News Wednesday that he lost his cool and shot back with some deliberately offensive lines of his own to shut them up.
"That's my job as the MC in an adversarial, aggressive comedy environment. If somebody heckles me, I want to find the root to what's going to offend them the most, and shut them up or get them out or whatever," Earle told the CBC.
"They pissed me off, so I said some rude things," Earle said on a video about the incident posted on YouTube.
In the video, Earle also claimed that Pardy threw two drinks in his face, and admits he broke Pardy's sunglasses in a confrontation after the show.
The CBC was unable to reach Pardy for comment, but her complaint to the tribunal alleges she was discriminated against in the provision of a service in breach of Section 8 of the Human Rights Code, on the basis of her "sex and sexual orientation."
Salam Ismail, the owner of Zesty's, who is also named in the complaint, said he did not discriminate against the couple and was not responsible for the incident.
Earle, who lives in Toronto, said he will fly back to Vancouver to defend himself at the hearing when a date is set.
"I'm not a homophobe, I'm not a hateful person. I'm not discriminatory," Earle said.
"Geez , you've got to bare your soul on stage, and in the meantime you've got to put up with this!" he said.