Dave Wheeler Wheeler in the Morning suspended racist sexist

Winnipeg radio host suspended over racist, sexist song parodies

92 CITI FM's Dave Wheeler was suspended after posting offensive videos taking aim at the city's poorest neighbourhood.

- Apr 12, 2016

In 2015, a Maclean's cover story called Winnipeg arguably "Canada’s most racist city." Mayor Brian Bowman has since declared 2016 the Year of Reconciliation, but, it seems, not everyone got that memo.

92 CITI FM radio host Dave Wheeler of Wheeler in the Morning was suspended Monday after posting two animated music videos he produced (that have since been removed), which feature racist and misogynistic messages about the residents of the city's North End neighbourhood — a community with a significant Indigenous population. Now, some, like local Indigenous activist Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie who spoke with VICE, are calling for his termination.

The video "North End Boy," set to John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," includes lyrics like "Well there's holes in the wall and blood stained red / I try to fall asleep but I got no bed / I go outside try not to end up dead / Thank God I'm a North-End boy." The song, VICE reports, extolls the joys of getting drunk and high without having to work "'cause I collect EI."

The second video, "Transcona Girl," a parody of The Beach Boys' "California Girls," says that North End women "really like to stab you and steal your bike," and that they've been "passed around this great big town and they just don't seem to care." The North End, it should be noted, is an economically depressed area. A recent study found that its residents die an average 16 years earlier than residents of the city's wealthiest region.

It's our weekly reminder that free speech doesn't mean consequence-free speech. In 2014, Toronto radio DJ Dean Blundell was fired for homophobic comments. The days of the blatantly offensive morning zoo host might be numbered.

Dave Wheeler has since apologized, both by a statement read on-air by a colleague and on Twitter.

But protestors gathered outside of the 92 CITI station today, calling for Wheeler's resignation or firing. The conversation continues on the hashtag #FireDaveWheeler.

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