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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Allen gives on-air mea culpa after meeting with Sikh and Muslim leaders

After a private meeting with Sikh and Muslim community leaders, a kinder, gentler Bruce Allen tried yesterday to defuse an escalating furor over his outspoken remarks about immigrants in a recent radio commentary.

The controversy might have been a local tempest in a teapot, except for the fact that Mr. Allen is a member of the creative team planning the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics, prompting many to call for his removal from the high-profile position.

In a lengthy taped response to the growing criticism, Mr. Allen agreed that he should not have told new immigrants to Canada to "shut up and fit in."

"Too harsh? Okay. At worst, the wrong choice of words," he told listeners on CKNW, where his original self-proclaimed rant was first broadcast.

Mr. Allen, manager of music luminaries Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams, also acknowledged some mistakes in his first commentary, such as referring to religious headgear for young Sikhs as a handkerchief when it is, in fact, a form of a turban called a patka.

"If I offended anyone, I apologize," he said. He blamed much of the controversy on the media "who needed a story" and malcontents playing politics. [Link]

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