A U.S. comedy duo, who were the hosts of a tribute concert for the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, are under fire for a joke that many attendees found offensive.
Bruce Williams and Terry Ree, who call themselves "The Indian and the White Guy," emceed the show on Friday night in Saskatoon in honour of families affected by a bus crash on April 6 that killed 16 people, including many members of the junior hockey team.
As part of a parody of Luke Bryan's hit "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," Williams sang: "Indian boy, shake it for me, boy, shake it for me, boy, shake it for me. Shake it from the river, shake it from the trees, shake it for the Indian with STDs."
'Absolutely the worst show ever!'
Reaction was swift from attendees, who felt the event had been tainted.
"Too bad the emcee used the occasion to mock and ridicule First Nations, using racist "humour," David Trudel wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada. "Not surprised but saddened."
"When we are in an era where people are tirelessly trying to promote Truth and Reconciliation, and then "entertainers" come on the stage and joke about historical issues with the First Nations people, it takes our whole nation back a few steps," wrote Ashley Hricz on concert promoter Country Thunder's event Facebook page.
"I was thoroughly disgusted, as was the other 8 people I was with. We weren't laughing. We were shocked," she added.
"Absolutely the worst show ever!! If someone told me I was going to a show that offended me and and every FN [First Nation] and non FN I know I never would have supported the concert in Saskatoon!," Claire Aistine wrote as a review on Williams & Ree's Facebook page.
If we shook up some people and got them talking about issues affecting local minorities, then that is the definition of raising awareness.Bruce Williams
According to CBC News, Williams apologized for offending anyone, and said the song was directed at only Ree. He said the pair uses humour to call attention to "rampant racism" in North America.
"If we shook up some people and got them talking about issues affecting local minorities, then that is the definition of raising awareness. We certainly do not want one joke or comment to colour this event and all of the healing and incredible giving spirit it evoked," Williams told CBC.
Later Saturday, the pair posted an apology on their Facebook page, admitting that they failed to consider the emotional nature of the event.
"The Great Province of Saskatchewan has been under a tremendous amount of strain and heartache and we failed to take into account situational awareness and its toll on the citizens who live therein. Peace and love to all," they wrote.
Watch: Country stars, NHLers pay tribute at Humboldt Broncos concert
The Broncos were on their way to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game when their team bus and a tractor-trailer collided at an intersection.
Sixteen people — including 10 players — were killed and another 13 people were injured.
Country Thunder Music Festivals, which booked the concert's musical acts, said money from the $65 concert tickets will also be donated to the families.
With files from The Canadian Press