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‘Edmonton is better than these fools!’: Video of racist incident going viral
Published Thursday, September 1, 2016 3:06PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 1, 2016 6:54PM MDT
Within only a few hours, a video showing a racist incident that took place in downtown Edmonton went viral online – viewed and shared thousands of times, and sparked wide-spread condemnation.
Late Wednesday evening, Edmonton actor and producer Jesse Lipscombe posted on his Facebook page about harassment he had faced while shooting a PSA in the city’s downtown.
The post, and the attached video, shows Lipscombe walking on a sidewalk, when a car pulled up ahead at a red light and someone inside shouted a racial slur at him.
“It’s this fight or flight response that just happens, and unfortunately, I know it all too well,” Lipscombe said.
Lipscombe said he was in the middle of a take at the time – but he walked over to the car and opened the door. The camera continued rolling, and the video shows Lipscombe crouching beside the vehicle, asking the men inside to repeat what they just said.
“I opened the door and I really didn’t want to be aggressive, I wanted to get down on his level,” Lipscombe said.
“I just wanted him to say it to my face.”
After a short struggle, the man closed the door and the driver drove off, and a passenger shouted the same slur again.
“Obviously they weren’t in the mood to talk about it,” Lipscombe said. “Side note: the car definitely smelled like booze.”
Lipscombe’s post goes on to say: “Edmonton is better than these fools!
“What is better than a random knockout? A public shaming,” Lipscombe then urged social media users to share the video.
Lipscombe said he also wants to and raise awareness of racism in Edmonton.
“Let’s not be quiet about it, let’s actually put fuel in it,” Lipscombe said. “So people are aware and sensitive to the fact that life is different when you have a different hue of skin.”
Nineteen hours after the story was posted, it had been shared more than 2,000 times, the video had been viewed more than 70,000 times – and also garnered hundreds of comments reacting to the video. Many condemned the actions of the men in the car.
The former head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission Fil Fraser said he would like to see the commission investigate.
“Tell people who these people are and what they’re up to, and you’ll find that they’ll pretty soon run for the hills,” Fraser said.
Later Thursday, Mayor Don Iveson issued a statement in response to what happened.
“I have seen the video and I condemn the use of racist language by the occupants of the car. No one in our City should ever be exposed to hateful comments like this. I happen to know Jesse personally, and he’s a talented entrepreneur, a giving member of the community and a proud Edmontonian. I have spoken to him this afternoon and I was able to express how atrocious I felt those comments were.
“Sadly, these incidents and others like them demonstrate the continuing need for Edmontonians and Canadians to come together through initiatives like Racism Free Edmonton and other community-based initiatives to challenge these unacceptable attitudes and [behaviours].”
Lipscombe said he’ll consider filing a formal complaint – but he wants to start a conversation that leads to an end to racism in Edmonton.
“It could be as weird as people walking down the street in Clan outfits,” Lipscombe said. “I want to make it as obscure as that.”
With files from Dan Grummett