City of Toronto bans Baruchel ‘Goon’ poster

Baruchel calls it “another classic example of the cultural divide between Quebec and Ontario”

Banned in Toronto, the 'Goon' poster features star and co-writer Jay Baruchel

Jay Baruchel, the Montreal-based writer and star of the hockey movie Goon, seems to have goosed the City of Toronto into giving his movie some free publicity. Yesterday, the day of the film’s red carpet premiere in Toronto, the city took down 38 posters promoting the movie, according to Goon distributor Alliance Films.

The poster  features Baruchel, Goon’s co-writer and star (How To Train Your Dragon, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tropic Thunder) gesturing in a way that the city found inappropriate. Alliance Films reports that the posters have been up for two weeks yet it  received neither prior notice nor any explanation as to why they were removed.

The cast of the film has been in Toronto for the last several days promoting the movie’s release.  “I question whether this has to do with Jay’s tongue or his ability to burn Maple Leafs’ jerseys, neither of which are offensive in any way,” said Goon director, Mike Dowse.

Commented Baruchel: “Another classic example of the cultural divide between Quebec and Ontario, I guess.”

Goon, a hockey comedy, delivers a wicked slapshot of profanity and violence, undercut with a sharp wit and a sweet streak of sentiment. The film has already offended some critics’ sensibilities with its unabashed romance of the enforcer, and its giddy embrace of violence—especially after last year’s deaths of three former NHL enforcers. Now, with the City of Toronto’s help, Goon‘s publicity campaign, like its hero (Seann Williams Scott), is mixing things up.

Does embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have anything to do with the ban? Is he hoping to stir up a bit of culture war to distract the citizenry from his woes? Who knows. Alliance reported the city’s poster action in a press release at 12:36 a.m. today. And I’m sure as hell not phoning the Mayor’s house in the middle of the night.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.