Racist video posted on social media prompts Montreal police investigation
West Island high school alerted police and is co-operating with authorities
Montreal police are investigating a racist video that is circulating widely on social media and is believed to have been published by two West Island high school students.
The video shows two teenagers dancing in blackface to an English-language song laced with racial slurs and derogatory statements against Black people. The song is dubbed over the video and it begins with the introduction of the two women by name.
Police spokesperson Const. Véronique Comtois said the Montreal police service (SPVM) was alerted about the video at 9 a.m. Monday after a 911 call.
CBC News could not confirm where the two teens attend school or when the video was produced.
However, John Rennie High School issued a statement on its Facebook page Monday, saying the administration immediately reported the video to authorities and is co-operating with the investigation.
"We were made aware of a video that had been posted by two students. The video contained very inappropriate images and racist comments," the statement says.
The video was produced outside of school activities, the statement says, but "nonetheless, we wish to emphatically underscore that this video is completely in contradiction to the values shared by our students, staff and our school community."
Noel Burke, chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, told CBC News the video is particularly shocking given the current context of heightened anti-racism awareness.
"I have verified that the administration and the police are already actively involved in an investigation," Burke said in an email.
Burke said the board will provide further details on the incident as the story develops. The board will also be issuing a public statement on racism at a special board meeting next Monday, he said.
The two teenagers cannot be named because they are minors and there is an open police investigation.
With files from Holly Cabrera