Montreal radio co-hosts say they were victims of racial discrimination at jazz festival

The co-hosts of The Morning Detour are speaking out against the Montreal International Jazz Festival for rescinding the hosts’ media accreditation to cover a band performance on July 9.

The show is broadcast on CKUT 90.3FM, a non-profit, campus-community radio station based at McGill University.

Svetlana Chernienko and Ian Thomas say their media accreditation was pulled hours before the jazz band The Roots was scheduled to play.

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The Black co-hosts claim they were victims of racial discrimination, saying the only reason they were given for the removal of their accreditation was that other Black media outlets from around the world were already covering the concert.

“There was systemic discrimination and that was very evident to me,” Chernienko said at a Friday press conference.

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The co-hosts insist that it makes no sense to allow other Black media outlets to cover a band in Montreal but not local Black radio co-hosts.

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“If you’re going to bring down major Black artists, you should let Black media, albeit, the only Black media in the city, come cover them,” Thomas said.

The co-hosts are asking for an apology from jazz festival organizers and are calling for an employee to be fired.

“Very dismissive. She was like, no, you guys don’t get in and that was it,” Thomas said.

Global News made multiple requests for comment to the jazz festival, but no reply was received.

Thomas and Chernienko say they were hoping to cover the performance of The Roots as well as interview one of its members.

Read more: City’s Caribbean community calling for meeting with Montreal police

A Black advocacy group says jazz festival management needs to better educate its employees.

“(They need) to look over their procedures and how they treat people and maybe get some sensitivity training, because it’s obvious that it’s needed,” Joan Lee, president of the West Island Black Community Association, told Global News.

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