Sun Media's Krista Erickson complains of being bullied, mocks Margie Gillis

Sun News TV host Krista Erickson took to the air yesterday and complained of being bullied by the arts community following her heated interview with internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Margie Gillis.

Erickson also said she believed the arts community bullies Conservative politicians into funding artistic projects that they do not believe in—showing a complete lack of understanding of the workings of the arm’s-length Canada Council for the Arts.

The comments came during a segment in which the host, aided by acting national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Association Derek Fildebrandt, picked a winner for the “Sunnies” award—the news network’s answer to the Governor General’s Arts Awards.

The winner of the Sunnies, selected by Fildebrandt and Erickson, was a viewer who sent in a video mocking Gillis’s dancing, in which he waved his arms around while wearing a pair of yellow oven mitts.

During the course of the segment, the following exchange between Erickson and Fildebrandt took place:

Krista Erickson: ...Craig Williams, you know him as oven mitts, friends. So this is his interpretation of the Margie Gillis interpretive dance. She is of course, the iconic interpretive dancer, there she is, who we had a very combative interview with. She is the recipient of $1.2 million in grants from the taxpayers over the last 13 years to subsidize this interpretive dance work that she does, as well as her school of dance.

Derek Fildebrandt: Oh, but she needs more, Krista.

KE: Well, whatever you do don’t ask her to justify the $1.2 million in taxpayers’ money that she has received, because you—

DF: That was good TV.

KE: Well, thank you my friend, but it comes with some consequence, and that is you will face the wrath of the arts community. Since that interview I have been inundated with hundreds of emails, phone calls, extremely hostile, threatening, calling me four-letter words that I cannot repeat. And they come from around the world. I’m hearing from people with the Julliard School of Dance. So there you go, I’m delighted to hear that the Julliard School of Dance is watching the Sun News Network, I didn’t even know they could get a signal there.

At the end of the segment, the following exchange also took place:

KE: What have you learned on our journey of enlightenment here on funding to the arts?

DF: I’ve learned you don’t want to be Krista Erickson if you’re taking on the art subsidy community. You know, this is an issue that actually gets people really heated up on both sides, but it’s not a discussion that we’ve really had adequately in Canada. It’s kind of boiled up here and there, but we haven’t had a sustained discussion about this. Sun has done a great job in focusing discussion on an important issue. We’re facing a massive deficit right now that is structural and we need to cut. And one of the very juiciest parts of the budget to be cutting is subsidies to any form of business, that includes the arts. So, you know, hats off to Sun for really shining the light on this.

KE: Well, we appreciate that. And I do want to share with you, I guess, my most salient point in terms of my observations and what I’ve learned from this journey of enlightenment, and I hearken back to something that you said to me at the very outset of our coverage on this issue. I said to you, you know, we know how a lot of Conservatives feel about funding to the arts. And not all the arts, but some things for instance, abstract art that is not mainstream, that is not commercially viable and so on. Why do they do it if they don’t believe in it?

And you said to me, “Krista, because they are bullied into funding it.” And you know something? I actually, I really believe that that is the case. Because I have now been the subject of that bullying, just for asking the questions, "Why do you deserve $1.2 million in taxpayers’ money?" And now I’m being mercilessly bullied, and so I mean, your analysis is bang on. Why are politicians doing this when they don’t believe in a lot of it? It’s because they’re facing the same bullying I have faced over the last two weeks and it’s just not worth it to raise the ire of these folks.

Comments (70) Add New Comment
Justin
This is a loosing battle - giving additional coverage to this sensational broadcasting Sun is winning. This is a fairly obvious publicity stunt, even bad publicity is still publicity, and they know that. Instead of giving this sort of degrading "news" coverage, perhaps a more fruitful use of efforts may be in providing support directly to Margie instead of playing into the slander tactics of Sun.
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Chris Slater
It's not the politician's duty to believe in the art. It's their duty to recognize that their citizens believe in it and to act accordingly. Simple as that.
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Alan
Under no circumstances will I ever buy, use or support any services or products advertised on Sun TV. No other proud Canadian should either.
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Dollface
He's Hot
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Angela
Krista Erickson is a compete joke! Watching her is like watching a bad parody of tabloid TV reporting. Maybe she should give back all the tax payer money that paid her salary when she worked at CBC! What a hypocrite! What an embarrassment to all REAL reporters!
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omzir
what is krista erickson's favorite color? she doesn't have one... she hates the arts that much.
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bamaba
"I’m delighted to hear that the Julliard School of Dance is watching the Sun News Network, I didn’t even know they could get a signal there." - Krista Erickson ...
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Jen
That ersatz of an anchorwoman is an embarrassment to the whole country. She should've stayed in Winnipeg with Mom and Dad to learn politeness and respect.
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East Van Arts
Krista Erickson's biggest problem lies not in her views, but in her stupidity. She is a dunce. She does not understand what peer review means in the arts. She does not understand the law governing the Canada Council, and its arms-length remove from government.

Above all, she does not understand Canada. What she thinks she understands she holds in contempt.

Our identity lies in our arts. It distinguishes us from all other nations. In French and in English, we are defined by how we sing and make music and dance and write and imagine and share. We are not defined by inanimate objects.

Krista Erickson has revealed herself: she is the Sarah Palin of media in our great country. Ms Erickson is as poorly-spoken, as ill-informed and as unwelcome as her model. One works for Fox, the other for Sun.

Beyond that? No apparent difference. Pitiful.
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so-called
I cannot agree that Ms. Erickson is stupid. She knows exactly what she is doing. Under direction from above, she is using the show to stir up hatred among its sympathetic viewers. She has successfully put artists on the defensive--a very easy thing to do. Now Sun News can focus in on using more propaganda to build its right-wing base.

Stop focussing on this woman and on yourself, artists! Boycott products of Quebecor, write to the CRTC with copies to your MP, the Minister of Heritage, and Quebecor itself.
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Fancy Pants
As every good despot knows, first you go after the intellectuals and the artists.

If the notion that Conservatives only want to fund "what they believe in" doesn't strike some serious fear into the hearts of the electorate, I don't know what will.
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BrunoQc
Curiosity brought me to watch the interview made by Mrs Erickson with Mrs Gillis and, besides discovering this quite peculiar and "so-basically- conservative" network on which the exchange was aired, this brought me to think that we are now undoubtedly in front of a new reality. We already had transgenders, which is now a well known reality. Now it seems that we have "transcitizens", i.e. conservative Americans born in the bodies of Canadians.
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Aaron
Does anyone really give a crap what SunTV and their 50 viewers think anyway?
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Dennis O'Connor
SUN TV's parent, media giant Québecor, great defenders of the free market, benefited to the tune some 23.7 Million$$ in grant money from Ottawa and Québec over the last two years. To that let's add the generous tax credits for its publishing and broadcast divisions. - Source: RueFrontenac
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zerocool
SUNTV = TROLL NETWORK. The whole point of them is to macrocosm something minor into manufactured outrage. They will do anything to poke us all into a response to get more views, and more ad revenue
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Steve Y
I do find it funny how all of these posters get completely worked into a frenzy when they have to pay HST but are completely fine with it when it is wasted on complete crap like interpretive dance, which has 0 to do with Canadian national identity and everything to do with self entitled rich folks enjoying themselves on the public's dime.
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Deborah Riley
I believe that when Ms. Erickson gets a little older, this "interview" will be a great embarrassment to her. It was not journalism. It was not an interview. She ambushed her guest, and what came across was her own complete ignorance of the field of dance and her breathtaking rudeness. A good journalist can ask difficult questions, wait for the answers and ask yet more difficult questions, all without descending to tabloid level.
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Tedi Tafel
I doubt very seriously that the Julliard School has even heard of SunNews. Thie interview with Margie has been all over the facebook and other social networks. Says something about how completely unaware Erikson is to not know this.
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Cinnamon Girl
I disagree that Krista will one day be embarrassed by this interview. I experienced Krista's abrasive, obnoxious personality first-hand when she lived in Winnipeg. This is not an act she puts on for notoriety or ratings. It is who she is at her very core.
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Ed O'Meara
I'm not surprised Krista can't see any value in art. I think that generally requires a soul.
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