Thursday, May 6, 2021
ADVT 
Health & Fitness

Johnson says popular "Body Break" series was created to battle racism

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 17 Jun, 2020
  • Johnson says popular

Television personality Hal Johnson, who co-hosted the Canadian health and fitness segment "Body Break," said the long-running series was started to combat racism.

In a four-minute YouTube video, Johnson said he was hired by TSN to be a sports reporter in 1988.

Later that day, he said he received another call from the same person saying that he wouldn't get the job after all because network executives said TSN already had a Black reporter and didn't want to have two.

TSN, a division of Bell Media, issued an apology via a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"We apologize to Hal Johnson for the racism he experienced at TSN beginning in 1988, a shameful part of our past, and thank him for sharing his story as a reminder of the impact of racism in Canadian media that continues today. We recognize that even 30 years later, there is still much work to do to improve our commitment to on-air and editorial diversity.

"As a first step, TSN is part of Bell Media's recently announced Content Diversity Task Force, which as part of its mandate is committed to amplifying voices from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) on-air talent."

In the video, Johnson also described a commercial shoot at a Toronto racetrack in 1988, where he was joined by two white actors to rehearse a cheering scene. He said that before they shot the scene, a director asked the white woman to sit beside the white man instead of Johnson.

Johnson asked the assistant director about the switch afterwards and was told the client didn't want the white woman to be seen sitting beside a Black man.

Johnson wondered to himself how he could change things, and after meeting Joanne McLeod, Body Break was born.

Johnson said he was met with resistance when shopping Body Break around to Canadian companies though. He was told the Canadian public wasn't ready for a Black and white couple.

The two pitched Body Break to Participaction, a federal government program for healthy living, and went on to create 65 Body Break episodes, which were a television fixture for a generation of Canadians.

Johnson and McLeod also appeared on "The Amazing Race Canada" in 2013.

Photo courtesy of MacLeans. 

MORE Health & Fitness ARTICLES

CDC posts long-awaited tips for minimizing everyday risk

CDC posts long-awaited tips for minimizing everyday risk

Take the stairs, not the elevator, down from your hotel room. Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks to your cookout. Use hand sanitizer after banking at an ATM.

CDC posts long-awaited tips for minimizing everyday risk

Canada participation rates of girls in sport still lag behind boys

Canada participation rates of girls in sport still lag behind boys

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan battled body-image issues as a teenager. But the 31-year-old from Toronto stuck with her sport of trampoline, beating odds that, according to a recent report by Canadian Women & Sport, see one in three Canadian girls drop out of sports during adolescence.

Canada participation rates of girls in sport still lag behind boys

Backlash over George Floyd tweet forces out CrossFit founder

Backlash over George Floyd tweet forces out CrossFit founder

The founder and CEO of CrossFit is stepping down after his tweet about George Floyd sparked a social media backlash and a wave of affiliated gyms cut ties with the company. Reebok also dropped its affiliation with CrossFit this week.

Backlash over George Floyd tweet forces out CrossFit founder

Nearly half of Canadians have tried virtual care amid pandemic: survey

Nearly half of Canadians have tried virtual care amid pandemic: survey

A survey by the Canadian Medical Association found almost half of those asked sought medical advice by phone, email, videoconference or text during the COVID-19 pandemic but that most people still prefer in-person visits.

Nearly half of Canadians have tried virtual care amid pandemic: survey

How to protect yourself and others from infection as COVID 19 cases increase

With COVID-19 now impacting the lives of Canadians on so many levels, people across the country are seeking answers to numerous important questions they have about the novel coronavirus.

How to protect yourself and others from infection as COVID 19 cases increase

A Quick Guide to Covid-19

Malnutrition is the primary cause of immunodeficiency worldwide

A Quick Guide to Covid-19