Supreme Court rules Quebec comedian did not discriminate in mocking disabled singer

Comedian Mike Ward

Comedian Mike Ward’s mocking of disabled singer Jeremy Gabriel did not violate Quebec’s charter of rights in terms of discrimination, the Supreme Court of Canada decided in a 5-4 ruling Friday.

Gabriel has Treacher Collins syndrome, which results in skull and facial deformities. He became famous for singing with Celine Dion and for the Pope.

Ward had joked between 2010 and 2013 that he thought the singer was dying, and that this was the reason for his fame and accolades.

The judgment overturns a previous appeals court ruling ordering Ward, who specializes in shock comedy, to pay $35,000 in moral and punitive damages to the singer. The court decided that a claim of discrimination must not become a defamation case.

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