Fredericton — Since its foundation almost 17 months ago, The Rebel Media has generated its fair share of controversy. At a press conference yesterday morning, founder Ezra Levant, flanked by a number of contributors, explained that these incidents were for the most part based on misunderstanding.
“Ever since we hit the ground over a year ago, it’s just been go-go-go. Anyways, we finally got around to checking out some of the comments on Facebook… turns out we really riled some folks up.” After finding that possibly up to 90 percent of their content has in some way been racist, homophobic or transphobic, Levant made the decision to shut down operations for one week and impose mandatory sensitivity training for all contributors.
The discovery was made by Managing Atlantic Editor James Halford. Halford held up a series of print-outs of Rebel articles from late June that stoked flames of Islamophobia toward Syrian refugees in Fredericton.
“I was at my mom’s kitchen table, editing this ‘investigation’ thing we were doing and then it hit me. I was like ‘Mom, do I ever come off as racist to you?’ She stopped what she was doing and was like, ‘Oh, honey, you didn’t know? You’re a giant piece of shit.’” Halford instantly emailed his concerns to Levant and within one hour all online iterations of The Rebel Media were shut down.
The sensitivity training has already proven to be a hit among the Rebel staff members. Halford singled out a workshop on empathy as being particularly interesting. “Think about this guys: other people see things completely different from you, crazy, eh?… And it’s like, what if the colour blue for you looks more like green to me?” Halford balled his hand into a fist and imitated an explosion next to his temple.
Levant concurred with Halford’s enthusiasm for the training. “I always bragged that I ‘didn’t have time to be politically correct’… turns out that in the time it takes to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you,’ you could just not publish inflammatory articles and videos on the Internet.”
Levant and Halford both expressed gratitude toward the 3rd party company providing the training, citing that they both have a new lease on life. Before returning to his office for an afternoon training module, Halford announced his intention to watch Orange is the New Black and record himself doing the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”