CBC: Just for Laughs drafts new anti-harassment policy in time for Wednesday's opening

Very pleased to see that after ~30 years of protecting a known rapist, and ~8 months after his resignation (which only came after les couragueses, a group of 20+ women who he allegedly assaulted demanded it) JFL has put out a statement in support of the women who have accused Rozon of sexual misconduct and changed their sexual assault policy! And all it took was two people who do not work for them to tell them exactly what they needed to do, earning $0 to do it.

Despite all of the above, I am taking this as a victory- just a very small one. I’m not gonna toot a vuvuzela over women identifying and nonbinary folks getting the bare minimum they should have always had.

I truly do hope these changes make it easier for women identifying and nonbinary performers, especially those of colour and those who are queer, to be able to work at/perform at the festival in a more similar capacity to their more privileged colleagues. I am curious to know more about the new policy they have created. I am curious to see if it provides more for their employees than their old policy did.

I also hope that JFL’s statement offers even a small amount of relief for the women who have come forward against Rozon, despite it being much too little, much too late.

And DeAnne is 100% correct. Her voice is essential at the festival and she should keep her spots.

As I’m sure is obvious at this point, my personal belief is that a stronger message is sent in refusing to accept mediocre treatment than to operate within it. As a white performer who already has a JFL credit and is not relying on the money for food/rent, I feel I had the privilege to act on that opinion.

As Celeste pointed out to me- it is not my job to demand that the festival change. My only job is to be a comedian. But a combination of what I believe is my moral responsibility and the reality that JFL’s former shitty policies did directly affect me as a woman trying to navigate their festival is what caused me to boycott the festival.

Ultimately only Just for Laughs is responsible for making themselves more accessible. They absolutely failed to do so, so external action had to be taken. That external action should have been by some band of white cishet Funky Peters who have done the fest a handful of times. But they didn’t.

I am rooting for each and every woman identifying/nonbinary performer, particularly those who are of colour and/or queer, who are doing JFL this year. They deserve the credits and money and they don’t owe JFL an education, especially at the expense of their careers.

Here’s hoping next year we’ll make up more than ~30 % of the JFL proper line up!

You can read the piece outlining JFL's response here.