Despite the slogan’s iconic “stay in shape and have fun”, the founder of Body Break, Hal Johnson, said that the idea of the segment of the health and physical condition was not rooted in the physical form, but a personal desire to fight against the racism and lack of diversity in the media landscape in canada. . On Monday, the tv personality canadian has become the latest celebrity to speak about her experiences with systemic racism.
In a YouTube video of four minutes, Johnson revealed that he had been hired by TSN to be a sports journalist in 1988 to be dismissed two hours later because the network already had a black journalist, and the leaders did not want to have two.
Speaking Tuesday to the correspondent of the national business of CTV’s Omar Sachedina, Johnson said that this experience and others at the beginning of his tv career it had opened my eyes to the lack of diversity in the canadian media – an awareness which was to shape Body Break.
“It is important to advocate for women, people with disabilities … These are things that I think are really important,” Johnson said.
“We have thought for all these years of Body Break, to have diversity and defend someone other than you.”
TSN, a division of Bell Media, has publicly apologized to Johnson on Tuesday afternoon.
“We apologize to Hal Johnson for the racism that he lived at TSN since 1988, a part to be ashamed of our past, and thank him for having shared his story to remind the impact of racism in the canadian media that continues today. We recognize that even 30 years later, there is still much to do to improve our commitment to diversity at the antenna and editorial, ” says the press release.
“In a first time, TSN is part of the working group on the diversity of content recently announced by Bell Media, which, in the framework of its mandate, is committed to amplify the voices of the talent in the waves of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color).”
Johnson stated that his decision to break his silence on his personal experience with racism came at a time of turmoil for the black community.
But he says that he doesn’t consider himself a victim. In fact, he hoped that the discussion will focus rather on the positive effects of the broken body on the Canadians.
“I was not looking for excuses. I am not a victim. I am someone who, hopefully, made a positive contribution to Canada, ” he said.
Johnson said that these lessons go beyond the race, noting that he often sees his wife and co-star of Body Break, Joanne McLeod, to be returned at meetings because she is a woman.
In fact, the couple has first met with the resistance during the purchase of Body Break in canadian companies, and it was said that the canadian public was not ready for a black couple and white.
“We didn’t want to scream and you shout:” You should do it. “You do it in a subtle way if you change the hearts and minds. It is a lot easier than trying to hit them over the head of the club “, he said.
“Our original idea for the Body Break was to do an activity, for example a gardening. And if you are a gardener, you are going to watch because you’re a gardener. Well, if you are a minority person, if you have a disability, and we have you included, you will pay attention to. “