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Canada ‘Frenchies’ tweet fuels Anthony Bourdain’s Twitter spat over Newfoundland show

Anthony Bourdain poses for a photo during an interview in Toronto on Oct. 31, 2016.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Anthony Bourdain is pushing back after another controversy over potentially offensive Canadian nicknames.

The celebrity chef’s CNN show, “Parts Unknown,” aired an episode on Sunday on the cultural and culinary heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador.

After it aired, someone asked Bourdain on Twitter why Fred Morin and David McMillan of Joe Beef in Montreal were with him when he visited the province last fall, dining with local chefs on delicacies like moose meat and authentic fish and chips.

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Rick Davies tweeted: “Why would Anthony Bourdain bring French Canadian snot chefs to Newfoundland? Anthony you did a diservice (sic) to the cuisine and hospitality of Newfoundland.”

Angela Freyra chimed in on Twitter, asking, “Why is the Newfoundland Parts Unknown hijacked by Quebecois chefs??

Bourdain shot back, saying it was the two chefs’ “relentless advocacy for #Newfoundland” that encouraged him to visit the easternmost province.

“Why were two ”Frenchies“ on the last ep of #PartsUnknown #Newfoundland? Because they were solely responsible for enticing me there,” he said on Twitter on Monday.

He said the well-known chefs have been “more forceful and effective advocates for Canadian tourism” than the tourism board.

The “Frenchies” comment sparked an animated defence of Bourdain, with some Newfoundlanders calling the tweet idiotic, destructive and “salty and rude,” while also apologizing to Bourdain and the Quebec chefs.

“To the people upset about the Quebec chefs in #PartsUnknown, first stop being so foolish. Second, they are the ones who kept urging Bourdain to do a show in Newfoundland. Stop being a tool,” Steven Davis tweeted in response.

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Another simply thanked Bourdain for coming to the island “and showing off our wonderful province. Ignore the idiots, they are complaining for the sake of complaining.”

The latest kerfuffle comes after the show took online heat for using the term “Newfie” in a tweet promoting the episode, with people informing Bourdain it is considered offensive and derogatory by many.

The official “Parts Unknown” account shared an article with Newfoundland-related books and local slang, saying “Embrace the Newfies as they are.”

Users were quick to jump on the use of a term with origins implying Newfoundlanders are unintelligent and lazy.

One man tweeted that “a fair portion of Newfoundlanders find the term ‘Newfie’ offensive,” while another tweeted: “Come on CNN. It is Newfoundlanders.”

Even as other Newfoundlanders said they didn’t find the term offensive, Seamus O’Regan, a St. John’s MP and the federal minister of veterans affairs, tweeted simply: “We don’t like it.”

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The show acknowledged the criticism on Twitter, offered an apology and appeared to delete the original tweet.

Bourdain also visited the French island of St. Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland, and embarked on cod fishing and moose hunting excursions.

Jeremy Charles, head chef behind Raymond’s in downtown St. John’s, hosted Bourdain on his visit, serving up menu items and showing off the province’s splendours.

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