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Comedian takes B.C.'s Human Rights Code to court over gay slur decision

A comedian is appealing a BC Human Rights Tribunal decision that concluded his repeated verbal attacks against a lesbian couple were discriminatory.

The tribunal ordered Ontario comic Guy Earle to pay $22,000 in compensation after an altercation with a group of women in a Vancouver restaurant.

The tribunal concluded Mr. Earle shouted gay slurs and other insults at Lorna Pardy, her girlfriend and another friend when Mr. Earle was on the stage MCing a comedy event as well as offstage between performances.

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Mr. Earle has filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court, arguing the province's Human Rights Code violates the right to free speech and was never intended to apply to arts performances such as stand-up comedy.

He also says the tribunal's refusal to allow him to testify by telephone was unfair, and he disputes much of Ms. Pardy's testimony, which the tribunal accepted as true.

Mr. Earle insists Ms. Pardy and the women she was with were disruptive hecklers, and he denies confronting them between performances.

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