A veteran B.C. political cartoonist says his newspaper has backed down in a fight with one of Canada's largest energy companies over a spoof of an advertisement.
Dan Murphy, of the Vancouver Province, created an animated parody targeting Enbridge Inc. and the potential environmental impact of its proposed multi-billion-dollar Northern Gateway pipeline proposal that would cross B.C. and Alberta.
Murphy says his publisher, Postmedia News, pulled the online animation off its website after Enbridge threatened to cut advertising with the newspaper chain, a claim Enbridge denies
The original Enbridge video was designed to promote its controversial pipeline project.
Murphy’s animation mocks Enbridge, splashing oily goo on the screen while questioning the oil giant's environmental record.
Murphy told CBC News that he was told Enbridge was outraged that its ad was mocked and put heavy pressure on Postmedia News.
The parody was taken down and Murphy says he was given a blunt message by Vancouver Province editor Wayne Moriarity.
"'If it doesn't come down, Enbridge says they're pulling a million dollars worth of advertising from Postmedia, and if it doesn't come down, I, Wayne Moriarty, I'm going to lose my job,’” Murphy said Moriarity told him.
Copyright issues cited
Contacted by CBC News, Moriarty would only say copyright issues are involved. Other managers at Postmedia did not return CBC’s phone calls.
Enbridge has released a statement saying it did not threaten to pull its ads and that it did not ask for the video to be removed.
An Enbridge spokesman did say a conversation took place with Postmedia, but he wouldn't divulge any details about who contacted the newspaper company or what was said other than Postmedia had apologized for the spoof.
Murphy says speaking out has been the toughest decision he's faced in his 25-year career at the paper.
“I could lose my job over this. The company could interpret this as being disloyal. I would argue that it is the opposite.”
Canada's 7 Media Giants
Postmedia - $1.1 Billion
Postmedia was born in 2010, when the bankrupt Canwest media chain was broken up. A consortium led by then-National Post CEO Paul Godfrey bought Canwest's newspaper assets, including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald, as well as both English-language dailies in Vancouver.<br> <br> Pictured: Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Torstar - $1.48 Billion
Torstar's flagship property is the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper. It also owns the Metroland chain of weeklies and the internationally popular Harlequin, publisher of pulp romances.<br> <br> Pictured: The Toronto Star building in downtown Toronto.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Shaw - $4.74 Billion
Western Canadian cable TV giant Shaw entered the media big leagues with the 2010 purchase of Canwest's broadcasting assets, including the Global TV network. The company was founded by Jim Shaw and is still controlled by his family.<br> <br> Pictured: CEO Brad Shaw<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em><br> <br> <em>CORRECTION: An earlier version of this slide stated that Shaw had purchased Canwest's newspaper assets. It only purchased the broadcasting assets. The company had backed out of an earlier attempt to buy three CTV stations.</em>
Quebecor - $9.8 Billion
Founded by Pierre Peladeau and run by his son, Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Quebecor owns the Sun Media and Osprey newspaper chains, as well as cable provider Videotron, Quebec TV network TVA, and a number of publishing houses.<br> <br> Pictured: Pierre-Karl Peladeau<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Rogers - $12.1 Billion
Founded by Ted Rogers, Rogers Communications is a major player in cable TV and wireless services. The company controls Rogers Media, which operates 70 publications, 54 radio stations and a number of TV properties including CityTV and the Shopping Channel.<br> <br> Pictured: CEO Nadir Mohamed<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Woodbridge (Thomson Reuters) - $13.8B
Woodbridge is the holding company owned by the billionaire Thomson family. It controls 55 per cent of Thomson Reuters, one of the world's largest news services organizations. Woodbridge's revenue is not reported, but Thomson Reuters reported revenue of $13.8 billion in 2011.<br> <br> Pictured: The late Kenneth Thomson, company chairman, in Toronto in 2003.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Bell Canada (BCE) - $18.1 Billion
BCE is one of Canada's largest corporations, and owns telephone, Internet and TV infrastructure. Its subsidary Bell Media purchased the CHUM group of radio stations in 2006, and Astral Media in 2012. The company also controls CTV, making it a dominant media player in Canada.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>