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B.C. comedy show cancelled following anger over Robert Pickton merch

Danger Cats Comedy made light of serial killer’s victims in T-shirts sold ahead of New West show

A B.C. comedy show has been cancelled after it was discovered that the group set to perform was selling merchandise making light of serial killer Robert Pickton’s murders.

Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy B.C. announced in a since-deleted Facebook post on Tuesday (Feb. 27) that it would no longer be hosting Danger Cats Comedy on March 24, as planned. The comedy trio confirmed the cancellation in their own social media post, saying they would also be backing out of upcoming shows in other areas of Canada.

The move comes as outrage pours out over T-shirts Danger Cats was selling ahead of their shows. The shirts, which sold out on the group’s website, depict a cartoon of Pickton holding up what looks like a piece of bacon under the slogan ‘Over 50 Flavours of Hookery Smoked Bacon’.

Pickton, who operated a pig farm in Port Coquitlam, was charged with the murder of 26 women following his arrest on Feb. 22, 2002. He told police, however, that he had wanted to kill a total of 50 – the number referenced in the T-shirt.

Pickton was found guilty of second-degree murder in the deaths of six women and was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years. However, he recently became eligible to apply for day parole.

READ ALSO: B.C. premier calls on comedy group to apologize to families of Pickton victims

The T-shirt sparked anger and horror from the families of Pickton’s victims, and Premier David Eby called on Danger Cats to apologize to them in an appeal on Monday (Feb. 26).

“All I can say is how deeply disappointed I am by the idea that the lives of vulnerable women could be trivialized like this. These are women with families and friends, who were murdered and then their lives ignored and the fact that they were considered..less worthy, less human was one of the reasons why Mr. Pickton was able to operate and kill them with impunity for so many years,” Eby said.

The women whose deaths police attributed to Pickton were reported missing from the Downtown Eastside between 1978 and 2001. All were members of marginalized groups, be it sex workers, Indigenous, or both.

In total, police discovered the DNA of 33 women on Pickton’s farm as part of the largest murder investigation in Canadian history. But the investigation also raised questions about police apathy and the existence of systemic racism, points that came up during a later public inquiry led by former attorney-general Wally Oppal.

Danger Cats posted a spoof apology video on Instagram on Monday that began with one of the trio’s members saying sorry before another one interjected to say “This is the spite tour, not the apology tour. Grow up.”

They made another post on Tuesday saying they had received death threats and had decided to cancel shows to protect the staff at those venues. The group said they have also removed the T-shirt from their website and will be donating the proceeds of the merchandise to Ukraine. The post did not include an apology.

Asked for clarification on whose decision the cancellation was, House of Comedy Vice President of Operations David Facey said in an email they have “no comment on the event, other than it is no longer scheduled at House of Comedy.”

READ ALSO: B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton now eligible to apply for day parole

-With files from Wolf Depner



About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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