Manitoba

Jamie Hall tweets suggest women 'not deserving of respect': human rights expert

Human rights expert Karen Busby says Jamie Hall's misogynistic tweets — and his response to criticism of them — are "deeply, deeply problematic."

'Often we see sexual objectification of women, but this goes way beyond that,' Karen Busby says

Liberal candidate Jamie Hall speaks to reporters at the Manitoba Legislature on Wednesday afternoon. (Kenza Kaghat/Radio-Canada)

Human rights expert Karen Busby says Jamie Hall's misogynistic tweets — and his response to criticism of them — are "deeply, deeply problematic." 

Hall was the Manitoba Liberals' candidate for Winnipeg's Southdale constituency for less than 24 hours. Almost immediately after the launch of his campaign, his past comments on Twitter about "whores" and "skanks" surfaced. Hall stepped down as the party's candidate a day after announcing he would run. 

"Often we see sexual objectification of women, but this goes way beyond that to real derogatory comments that really suggest that women as a class are not deserving of respect," said Karen Busby, a law professor at the University of Manitoba and the director of the university's Centre for Human Rights Research. 

Among the tweets that generated criticism was one referring to his girlfriend, Dez Joyal, as a "skank" — a term that Hall claimed really means "jerk" within his circle of friends.

Hall and Joyal defended his choice of words in an exclusive interview with CBC's Up to Speed program on Thursday.

Hall claimed "skank" really means "jerk" within his circle of friends. Joyal said she was not offended by the tweet in question.

"I never took it personally. I know his humour, I understand it. It was funny. No one else had ever brought up that as an issue or to be offensive when it came out, so I find it just kind of unfortunate that it's coming out now like this," she said Thursday. 

"My girlfriend is a strong, independent woman. She would not be sitting here in the studio next to me if I called her a skank," Hall added.

Jamie Hall talks with Up to Speed's Ismaila Alfa on the last 24 hours since his social media controversy. 14:46
Busby said Joyal might not find Hall's words offensive but a lot of women would.

"I think it's a classic technique to ask people to consent to their own shaming, and if you don't consent, then you're just being a bad sport," Busby said.

"If future politicians would use language to objectify women as sexual objects or make derogatory comments about women as a class, I would be really concerned about what positions they would take on other policy issues of concern to women, like daycare, wage gaps, reproductive choice and so on." 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.