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The Schmooze

Canadian ‘Jersey Shore’ Knockoff Under Fire Over Anti-Semitic Comments

It didn’t seem possible to make MTV’s inexplicable smash “Jersey Shore” look like “Masterpiece Theatre.” But a Canadian knockoff called “Lake Shore” — set to start production next spring — has done just that with a slur-laden “sizzle reel” aimed at building early-stage buzz, according to Canada’s National Post.

The eight-minute promo includes gems like this, according to the Post, from one Sibel Atlug, a 23-year-old loud-mouthed woman cast as “the Turk”: “I’m not racist because I hate everybody equally, especially Jewish people.” The comments come “during a mud-flinging free-for-all in which cast members share first impressions of their future housemates,” the newspaper said.

Montreal-based producer Maryam Rahimi used a less-than-convincing free-speech defense in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail. “I’m not supporting what one person says in comparison to another. But kids are all entitled to state their opinions … and I’m just trying to create entertainment,” she told the newspaper. Rahimi noted the reel has close to 112,000 hits on the show’s website, and over 550,000 YouTube views.

Globe and Mail writer Gayle McDonald seemed to write off the controversy as a predictably PC tantrum from south of the border. The reality show, she noted, “has got some American on-line media in a tizzy.” Entertainment Weekly’s website, she wrote, said ‘Lake Shore’ looks like an “ethnicity circus, where ridiculousness and stupidity are things to be valued.” Then added: “Finally, idiots of every race and creed can pour Grey Goose down each others’ throats!”

Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, seemed to agree with EW. “It’s silly, puerile trash TV. … But it’s sadly the kind of television and entertainment that seems to titillate people nowadays,” he told the Toronto Star. “You throw in a racist comment, or a sexist comment, or an anti-Semitic comment and it becomes provocative.”

On Thursday, the National Post reported, the original trailer was pulled offline due to accusations of copyright violation, but a shorter clip including Ms. Atlug’s comments remains.

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