2 petitions call for Saskatoon radio host John Gormley to resign after tweet

Two petitions are calling for popular talk radio host John Gormley to resign because of a tweet he posted after the Paris attacks.

Gormley has already apologized on air

FILE PHOTO: Saskatoon radio host John Gormley apologized this week on air for comments he made on Twitter following the Paris attacks. ((CBC))


  • Gormley apologizes for the second time this week
  • Gormley tweet could be defensible, says hate speech lawyer

Two petitions are calling for popular talk radio host John Gormley to resign because of a tweet he posted after the Paris attacks. 

Gormley posted the following on Twitter:

Radio host John Gormley has since deleted this tweet and apologized on air for his comments. (Twitter)

One petition is calling for Gormley to be taken off the air. It states: "This sentiment openly expressed by a well known, relatively mainstream public figure, is very concerning, but especially because this comes at a time when the issue of Syrian refugees is being debated in Saskatchewan."

On Monday, Gormley apologized on his show, heard on Newstalk 650 CKOM and Newstalk 980 CJME. 

Talk show host John Gormley has come under fire for a tweet he posted after the Paris attacks. He apologized on his show on Monday.

But that wasn't enough for Mayah Holtslander of Saskatoon. "Any apology that begins 'if' is not a true apology," she said.

Holtslander started another petition.

It asks Gormley to issue a "legitimate apology that recognizes the magnitude of his words, and to subsequently resign from his positions at the Star Phoenix and News Talk 650. His tweet was hateful and has the potential to promote violence against Muslims. As a public figure in Saskatchewan, Gormley must be held accountable for his actions."

Local Muslims react

Some local Muslims have been more forgiving.

I was very satisfied. You know he apologized and we all make mistakes. And I think it's not that big of a deal personally.- Noman Hassan, spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at

Rashid Ahmed with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students' Association was at an event on Wednesday night to encourage non-Muslims to get to know more about Islam and dispel misconceptions about violence, terrorism and Islam.

"As a Muslim it hurts my feelings," Ahmed said. "We as Ahmadiyya Muslims believe in love for all and hatred for none."

He noted that "Allah Ahkbar" is a common phrase used several times a day by Muslims who practice their faith and that it means "God is great or God is merciful." 
Rashid Ahmed with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students' Association. (CBC)

​"We are all humans, we all make mistakes we all have our angers and devastating reactions to the heinous and barbaric attacks that took place in Paris," Noman Hassan, the spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, said.

"For example this tweet that he himself took it out, just to share his reaction to the event."

Hassan said that people in public roles should be careful, however, because they don't know how others, especially those who don't know much about Muslims may react. He said he was encouraged to see many non-Muslims criticize the tweet.

He is not calling for Gormley to resign.

"I was very satisfied. You know he apologized and we all make mistakes. And I think it's not that big of a deal personally." 

On Thursday, Gormley apologized again on his show when one of his callers mentioned the petition.

"It's not just dumb, it's inappropriate and it's counselling violence," Gormley said. The talk show host added that he "handed" the controversy to his critics and said there were two or three social justice activists who target him. 

"I own the tweet and I'm terribly sorry, deeply apologetic that I did that. I'm embarrassed by it, I don't feel good. I'm annoyed, I'm disappointing in myself."

Gormley said he also reached out to the Ahmadiyya community as well as his friends who are Muslim to apologize.

Meanwhile, criminal lawyer David Butt, who has worked extensively on hate speech and freedom of expression, said while Gormley clearly referred to an identifiable group, there is a possible defence. 

"We have a conversation going on in that tweet. Not just an assertion. We have the putative author making a statement and a putative response condemning him for making that statement. It's possible to read the entire context of that tweet as actually a statement against those kinds of angry reactions."

​CBC has contacted Gormley but we have not heard back.