Montreal

Mike Ward hoping to crowdfund $93K for legal fees

The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruled last week that Ward must pay $35,000 to Jérémy Gabriel for making jokes that violated the rights of the child singer with disabilities.

Quebec comedian appealing $42K Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruling on jokes about child singer

Mike Ward says the money raised will cover his legal fees and any extra will help other comedians facing similar circumstances. (Just For Laughs)

Quebec comedian Mike Ward is taking to a crowdfunding website to raise money for his legal fees.

Ward is hoping to raise $93,000 to cover legal fees he's amassed during proceedings before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

The tribunal ruled last week that Ward must pay $35,000 to Jérémy Gabriel for making jokes that violated the rights of the child singer with disabilities.

He must also pay $7,000 to Gabriel's mother, Sylvie Gabriel.

"I'm a Canadian comedian that got sued by my government for making fun of a local celebrity that sang for the Pope. I was found guilty by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, I refused to pay," Ward says on his GoFundMe page.

On his Facebook page, Ward explained his refusal to pay, saying in French that he was doing it "not for myself, but for young comedians, the comedians of tomorrow."

"This ruling not only limits the kind of jokes we can make, but also directly limits criticism. This concerns not only comedians. It concerns journalists, bloggers, Youtubers, critics, and anyone else who dares disagree with someone who takes such criticism as a personal attack," he wrote.

Ward said his legal fees have amounted to $93,000 so far, a figure that's likely to climb as he appeals the tribunal's ruling.

If he exceeds his crowdfunding goal, Ward said the extra money will go into a fund to assist other comedians facing similar proceedings.

The bilingual comedian said he is also setting up a French crowdfunding page.

As of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, he had raised more than $15,600.

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