‘Goon’ posters too offensive? Toronto thinks so

By: Christian Gennara

“Sex, drugs and scoring goals.”

“If you can’t beat ‘em, beat ‘em up.”

“Nice guy, dumb as puck.”

Would you deem these phrases as offensive? Would you be offended if you read these on a poster while waiting for a TTC bus to take you to school or work or the gym, or maybe even your favourite eatery?

Jay Baruchel doesn’t seem to think so.

Baruchel is the co-writer and one of the stars of Goon – a flick about a club bouncer who gets the opportunity to become an enforcer on a semi-pro hockey team, fighting his way to glory.

There is no disguising the fact that the movie, which opened February 24, is charged with sexual innuendo and bombarded with displays of alcohol abuse. After all, it is about hockey, fighting and beer, something that perhaps the executives behind the camera already felt us Canadians had come to know and love, and had grown accustomed to.

Something Canadians apparently aren’t comfortable with though is the gesture displayed in the movie poster. The poster is of Baruchel, sticking his tongue out between two fingers, portraying the act of cunnilingus, with the tag line of the poster reading “Gross Misconduct”.

Underneath Hollywood’s best attempt at glorifying the act of two grown men dropping the gloves and smashing each other’s faces in, there exists the question of the connection between the game of hockey and Baruchel’s demeaning gesture. Is hockey a sexy sport? Can sex have the same affect on selling a sport as it does to everything else?

Astral Media, which distributed the 38 movie posters found in the bus shelters, removed them on February 22nd. This came two days before the film was released last Friday, and ironically enough, the same day as the movie’s red carpet premiere in – yup, you guessed it – Toronto, at the Scotiabank Theatre.

A number of complaints were lodged with City of Toronto phones, forcing the poster’s removal. Callers were outraged with Baruchel’s crude pose, as inappropriate for children. But wait: According to Alliance Films, the posters had been displayed in public for two weeks prior to their removal. Two weeks! Surely, the “damage” had already been done after 14 days displaying an enlarged Baruchel depicting the oral sex act across Toronto.

Two days after the city of Toronto removed the offending posters, Montreal followed suit, after receiving complaints from citizens. In a world where we seem to have become numb to images of sex and violence, it is certainly different, refreshing almost, to hear that something is just too racy for public consumption.

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