09/10/2013 03:43 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 03:46 EDT

Ezra Levant's ‘Gypsies' Comments Condemned By Broadcast Standards Council


Sun News host Ezra Levant violated the broadcasting ethics code when he portrayed Gypsies as being criminals, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled.

In a segment of Sun News' "The Source" that aired in September, 2012, the always controversial Levant described the Roma as “a culture synonymous with swindlers.”

At another point in the segment about an organized crime ring in Ontario that involved some Roma, Levant declared: “Gypsies are not a race. They’re a shiftless group of hobos. They rob people blind. Their chief economy is theft and begging. For centuries these roving highway gangs have mocked the law and robbed their way across Europe.”

Levant’s comments were “in violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code,” the CBSC announced Monday.

Levant's segment was "abusive and unduly discriminatory against an ethnic group, and violated other provisions of the [code] regarding negative portrayal, stereotyping, stigmatization and degradation," the CBSC said.

But the council did not order Levant to issue an on-air apology, because Levant has already done so twice.

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"There were some criticisms after that show, but I dismissed them as coming from the usual soft-on-crime liberals and grievance groups,” Levant said during a broadcast in March.

“But when I look at some of the words I used in that show — like "the gypsies have gypped us" — I must admit that I did more than just attack a crime or immigration fraud problem," he continued.

"I attacked a particular group, and painted them all with the same brush. And to those I hurt, I'm sorry."

The CBSC said it received 38 complaints about Levant’s comments in the weeks after the broadcast, 26 of which were actionable.

At one point shortly after the broadcast took place, it was reported that Toronto police had launched a hate-crimes investigation into Levant's comments.

According to the Toronto Star, police said there was enough evidence to lay charges, but “permission from the Ontario attorney general was not forthcoming.”