A Canadian bus driver is looking at up to two years behind bars for distributing “safe sex” pamphlets during the annual gay pride parade being held in Toronto late last month.
The 51-year old has been charged with “willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, namely the gay community.” According to a statement released by the Toronto Police Service Bill Whatcott, “distributed anti-gay material which promoted hatred toward the gay community.”
The actual basis for the charge stems from a gay pride parade that was held in 2016 where reportedly Bill Whatcott, a Christian man, distributed literature to paradegoers. Whatcott said the nationwide arrest warrant–nearly two full years after being charged with “hate speech”–has left him “shocked.”
The Toronto Star explained that the warrant was issued two years after the initial incidents because “police had to ‘liaise’ with the prosecution to approve the charge.” Whatcott had already been to court in August of 2016 over the pamphlets in question in a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one. Douglas Elliot, a well-known Canadian homosexual activist and lawyer brought the civil class-action lawsuit against Whatcott for over $104 million for the distribution of the pamphlets during the parade. Elliot made it a priority to shut down Mr. Whatcott’s website and any other websites that linked to Whatcott’s site.
Whatcott was arrested at the end of June 2018 for distribution of the pamphlets and held until Monday of last week after being released on bail on the condition that all offending fliers on his website be removed immediately. Although Whatcott complied with the conditions of his release, the fliers have popped up [WARNING: graphic images] on American-based websites since being removed from his website.
According to The Federalist, the pamphlets being handed out to attendees during the parade stated that homosexuality is associated with sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV of the rectum, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says is true. Allegedly, negative comments about the Liberal party could be found in the pamphlets, with accusations as well as facts about several left-wing politicians who were either accused of or had already been convicted of various sexual crimes.
Toronto’s former deputy education minister, Benjamin Levin, who pled guilty to making and distributing child pornography in 2015 was one of several politicians featured in the literature. Levin was the deputy minister of education and oversaw the designing of Ontario’s sex-education curriculum that many Canadians found very offensive, even calling it downright “perverted.”
Pamphlets illustrated with graphic medical photos that are not unlike warning photos found on some cigarette labels shocked many. Christian statements indicating that unrepentance of homoesecual acts would lead to “eternal peril” but repentance to “the free gift of eternal life” donned one panel.
There was nothing printed in the pamphlets that Whatcott handed out that day that stated, or implied that anyone should hate homosexuals, nor did it advocate violence against the LGBTQ community whatsoever.
Last Friday, Whatcott drove to Calgary and turned himself into police. Whatcott stated that in the first 24 hours he was being held, he was given no food and also lost his job as a bus driver in the wake of the arrest. “It might have been on purpose, because it didn’t happen, like–some inmates did go half a day without food–but they actually made me go a full 24 hours,” he was quoted as saying. Whatcott claims that he was also denied medical attention for a pre-existing leg injury. “I had a leg infection, and it was bad enough that I was brought to the hospital, but they simply refused to fill the prescriptions. So for four days I had no medications. The infection was actually going up my leg. I was a little concerned it was gonna go systemic.”
Whatcott’s charges are considered “indictable offenses” by law and are punishable by forfeitures and imprisonment for up to two years. Whatcott is expected to return to court in Toronto on July 23rd in order to set a trial date.
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