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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 7:25 PM
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Racism in Canada

I'm currently in the process of moving to Toronto and recently I rented a U-Haul truck in my old city to move to Toronto. The location I rented from was an independent U-Haul dealer out in the country. When the clerk noticed I was moving to Toronto, he made a comment about the city's black population and how they "shoot each other". I didn't say anything at the time but as time went on I became more and more disturbed by it, as racism bothers me a lot. I posted an unfavourable review of this particular U-Haul dealership, I stuck to the facts and stated what he said because of how uncomfortable it made me (I am white but I have friends of many different ethnicities and races).

This morning I received a very threatening phone call from the dealership, threatening that if I don't take the unfavourable review down, he'd possibly have me prosecuted. My first name is attached to the review but not my last name. Interesting the man did not deny that he said the things that he said but he said he "didn't care" if I was offended and he claimed what he said was true and was stated on the news (which I know is BS as not all shootings in Toronto are committed by one racial group). There is no libel since I didn't post anything false, but I'm rightfully concerned about the threat of legal action.

In the meantime I have contacted U-Haul and threatened a national media PR nightmare if this threatening behaviour isn't rectifed (I have a lot of contacts in the media as I was a newspaper reporter for a time; including the CBC's investigative unit, CTV, a local television station in my old city, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail). I have also asked U-Haul to remove my review.

How should I be handling this, within Canadian law? We do have free speech in Canada but I know it's not quite as "free" as in the United States.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 8:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
I'm currently in the process of moving to Toronto and recently I rented a U-Haul truck in my old city to move to Toronto. The location I rented from was an independent U-Haul dealer out in the country. When the clerk noticed I was moving to Toronto, he made a comment about the city's black population and how they "shoot each other". I didn't say anything at the time but as time went on I became more and more disturbed by it, as racism bothers me a lot. I posted an unfavourable review of this particular U-Haul dealership, I stuck to the facts and stated what he said because of how uncomfortable it made me (I am white but I have friends of many different ethnicities and races).

This morning I received a very threatening phone call from the dealership, threatening that if I don't take the unfavourable review down, he'd possibly have me prosecuted. My first name is attached to the review but not my last name. Interesting the man did not deny that he said the things that he said but he said he "didn't care" if I was offended and he claimed what he said was true and was stated on the news (which I know is BS as not all shootings in Toronto are committed by one racial group). There is no libel since I didn't post anything false, but I'm rightfully concerned about the threat of legal action.

In the meantime I have contacted U-Haul and threatened a national media PR nightmare if this threatening behaviour isn't rectifed (I have a lot of contacts in the media as I was a newspaper reporter for a time; including the CBC's investigative unit, CTV, a local television station in my old city, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail). I have also asked U-Haul to remove my review.

How should I be handling this, within Canadian law? We do have free speech in Canada but I know it's not quite as "free" as in the United States.
You didnt have to remove the review, you had every right to state what you said. He has no legal recourse against you and his only argument would involve lying under oath. Business owners bully people all the time about legal action (especially against each other) but if you have told the truth they will do absolutely nothing about it except threaten you. Just ignore him and stick to your guns. People have threatened me with lawsuits, etc. so many times I just have fun with it...I would make snarky or teasing comments to instigate them further and get under their skin, "Your wife told me she doesn't want you to sue me, as I haven't showed her all my 'bedroom golf' moves yet...Oh yeah? Great, feel free to get your lawyers to fax their letter to 1-800-SUCK-IT!"
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 8:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
I'm currently in the process of moving to Toronto and recently I rented a U-Haul truck in my old city to move to Toronto. The location I rented from was an independent U-Haul dealer out in the country. When the clerk noticed I was moving to Toronto, he made a comment about the city's black population and how they "shoot each other". I didn't say anything at the time but as time went on I became more and more disturbed by it, as racism bothers me a lot. I posted an unfavourable review of this particular U-Haul dealership, I stuck to the facts and stated what he said because of how uncomfortable it made me (I am white but I have friends of many different ethnicities and races).

This morning I received a very threatening phone call from the dealership, threatening that if I don't take the unfavourable review down, he'd possibly have me prosecuted. My first name is attached to the review but not my last name. Interesting the man did not deny that he said the things that he said but he said he "didn't care" if I was offended and he claimed what he said was true and was stated on the news (which I know is BS as not all shootings in Toronto are committed by one racial group). There is no libel since I didn't post anything false, but I'm rightfully concerned about the threat of legal action.

In the meantime I have contacted U-Haul and threatened a national media PR nightmare if this threatening behaviour isn't rectifed (I have a lot of contacts in the media as I was a newspaper reporter for a time; including the CBC's investigative unit, CTV, a local television station in my old city, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail). I have also asked U-Haul to remove my review.

How should I be handling this, within Canadian law? We do have free speech in Canada but I know it's not quite as "free" as in the United States.
I don't know the law but I think the threat of a defamation lawsuit is minimal, and you have a legitimate beef.

Seems to me, asking them to remove your review just makes things simple on their end.

More than ever companies are responsible not just for the services they provide, but also the manner in which they provide them. Perhaps generating a broader "PR nightmare" about the issue is a good way to approach it?
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 8:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ScreamingViking View Post
I don't know the law but I think the threat of a defamation lawsuit is minimal, and you have a legitimate beef.

Seems to me, asking them to remove your review just makes things simple on their end.

More than ever companies are responsible not just for the services they provide, but also the manner in which they provide them. Perhaps generating a broader "PR nightmare" about the issue is a good way to approach it?
You're probably right. More than anything he's probably pissed that he got caught and he just wants it to go away. But he probably has no idea how badly that could backfire for him. His whole business could go down in flames if this got media coverage.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 8:59 PM
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If it were me, I'd probably leave the review up on the assumption that this guy is just a blustering bully with no real case to make... but if he literally did lawyer up then I'd just yank the review. I doubt I'd feel so strongly about it that I'd feel like spending my own money to fight a frivolous libel chill lawsuit against some guy trying to protect his (questionable) reputation. But YMMV, some people might be more willing than I to prove the point.

Getting the media and U-Haul corporate involved does not strike me as unreasonable given the circumstances... reporters typically lap this kind of thing up. Which is why smart businesspeople don't smear large ethnic groups to customers.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 9:21 PM
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Leave the review plus follow up review.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 9:24 PM
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I agree with esquire: if they end up doing something, their first "action" against you will have to be to get in touch with you via official, legal means (registered letter) to formally ask you to remove your review and warm you that else they'll start procedures against you. (That letter should also give you a preliminary taste of the arguments they intend to use to make their case against you.)

So, for the time being, you can safely assume they're just playing the (totally free, super easy to use, often potent) "I'll sue you!" card, and hoping to get easy, immediate results with it.

If this empty threats strategy ends up not working for them, it's far from certain they'll actually want to move on to the next level. But even if they do, at that stage, you're not yet irremediably involved in a costly-for-both-parties legal battle, so you can wait until it gets to that stage (it probably won't) to consider removing the review and burying the hatchet.

(Short version: you can leave the review there for now.)
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 9:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
I posted an unfavourable review of this particular U-Haul dealership
Come to think of it... if you want to put all chances on your side for getting the best possible advice, you should consider sharing the link to that review with the people whose advice you're seeking.

I mean, we're probably all willing to take your word that your bad review was cool-headed and reasonable, but maybe it actually wasn't. Without seeing it, we can't guarantee U-Haul doesn't have valid grounds to consider it libelous.

(If you don't want to share your first name, that's fine, but you could copy/paste the text here.)
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
You're probably right. More than anything he's probably pissed that he got caught and he just wants it to go away. But he probably has no idea how badly that could backfire for him. His whole business could go down in flames if this got media coverage.
Also consider that U-Haul has had enough problems over the years with the quality of their vehicles (edit: and customer service) that you'd think there are people at head office who would go out of their way to avoid this kind of issue and ensure it is handled properly.

Last edited by ScreamingViking; Jun 27, 2015 at 10:55 PM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 10:51 PM
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Do Not Remove the Review.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 10:56 PM
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U-Haul is scum, the whole company. I had a bit of a horror story the last time I used them and I never will again. U-Haul is truly a case of "you get what you pay for".
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2015, 10:58 PM
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My opinion...remove the review, you just taught that idiot a lesson. Chances are he's not a racist, just a fool who made a dumb comment. Not worth hurting some guys lively hood to make yourself feel like you're superior to him and his narrow minded view of the world....for the record i have not read your review.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 3:46 AM
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I don't believe he has any legal grounds on this one, although I'm not a lawyer. That said, this probably isn't a fight that I would pick. People say dumb shit all the time. Sometimes they mean it, other times they're misinterpreted. Not worth your time IMO.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 3:59 AM
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I don't believe he has any legal grounds on this one
In fact, as I pointed out earlier, whether or not he could manage to convince a court that what was said was defamation totally hinges on the exact contents of the "unfavorable" review. You can't really know if there's a legal ground if you haven't read it.

Example, if you're moving to TO and I tell you I just saw on the news that there have been a few black gang shootings in a row over there and you post a review online of my business blatantly accusing me of racism, then yes I'd say there's grounds to sue there.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 5:21 AM
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Do Not Remove the Review.
If it is a U-Haul website they are free to remove any review they don't like.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 6:53 AM
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"It's mostly black kids killing black kids"

I expect your negative review of the Globe and Mail to be posted forthwith.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...service=mobile
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 6:58 AM
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All the gentlemen from U-Haul has to do is provide a link to this article and he will have a successful case for character defermation. So much for casually discussing the daily news with customers. Nobody is safe anymore in this dystopian nightmare.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 7:04 AM
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"It's mostly black kids killing black kids"

I expect your negative review of the Globe and Mail to be posted forthwith.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...service=mobile
So aggravating. The socioeconomic conditions in these neighbourhoods are what create the problem - and it's society that tends to push people from certain shared backgrounds into them. It's not a racial issue.

Here, we have communities that were forcibly resettled in the 1950s/60s. White communities. Today, many of their former residents have the exact problems many in Canada associate with aboriginal people - chronic unemployment, substance abuse, high suicide rates, a disconnect from mainstream society, a perpetual sense of victimhood, a deep distrust of government, an expectation of social assistance, etc. No one would ever look at these people and think it's because they're white. They recognize it's because they were forcibly displaced from their homes, culture, and way of life and thrust into a new society that didn't provide the necessary supports for them to assimilate, nor expected them to do.

In St. John's, our lowest class - like the city itself - is mostly white. Everything these articles moan about regarding black people is present here, with the exception that the violence here is rarely fatal, as is the case in most smaller cities and those farther removed from American access to firearms.

The sort of subconscious racism that we're all guilty of is why our society tends to push certain groups into certain conditions. But it's those conditions, not race, that generate the outcome. Different cities push different groups into them, and the outcome is always the same.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 7:37 AM
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So aggravating. The socioeconomic conditions in these neighbourhoods are what create the problem - and it's society that tends to push people from certain shared backgrounds into them. It's not a racial issue.

Here, we have communities that were forcibly resettled in the 1950s/60s. White communities. Today, many of their former residents have the exact problems many in Canada associate with aboriginal people - chronic unemployment, substance abuse, high suicide rates, a disconnect from mainstream society, a perpetual sense of victimhood, a deep distrust of government, an expectation of social assistance, etc. No one would ever look at these people and think it's because they're white. They recognize it's because they were forcibly displaced from their homes, culture, and way of life and thrust into a new society that didn't provide the necessary supports for them to assimilate, nor expected them to do.

In St. John's, our lowest class - like the city itself - is mostly white. Everything these articles moan about regarding black people is present here, with the exception that the violence here is rarely fatal, as is the case in most smaller cities and those farther removed from American access to firearms.

The sort of subconscious racism that we're all guilty of is why our society tends to push certain groups into certain conditions. But it's those conditions, not race, that generate the outcome. Different cities push different groups into them, and the outcome is always the same.
Only recently have "whites" all been unified into a single group . It's actually quite comical. Having traveled throughout Africa extensively I can tell you that it's one of the most racist places I've been. Ironically, the one thing they have in common is that they're all black. Surprise surprise... that's because "race" has little to do with color. Let's not forget the expulsion of the Indians from Uganda too. Have you so quickly forgotten about the discrimination against the Irish in Newfoundland?

Mick, Kike, Wop, Kraut, Frog, Spic, Slav (Slave).. they don't pack the punch they used to. But... they're all white.. and up until recently, they didn't get along very well.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2015, 1:48 PM
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so you met a clerk who had racial prejudices?

and then you made a comment online about how this person was bigoted and unpleasant (on a forum devoted to the reviews of clerks and their professional comportment, among other things)?

seems like a fairly routine human encounter. no further action needed.

treat everything else as fragments of our peculiar cultural period. canadians used to laugh at the litigious society south of us.
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