Benefit Street: If this is entertainment….

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…why don’t we just draw lots for child tribunes to fight to the death?

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty was approached by their allies in Britian to join a twitter protest against the television show Benefit Street, and curious about this I watched part of an episode on youtube. Then I found myself in front of the computer reading tweets with the hashtag #BenefitStreet. While there are occasional tweets pointing out that the real problems are the systems that create poverty the majority of the tweets are awful. The hatred expressed makes me want to vomit.

Making entertainment out of people’s poverty is not right. The people on the show were told that the show was about community spirit. Instead it is a poor-bashing show edited to make the people look ridiculous. Now the people face death threats and have been disowned by family members.

Moreover the show is feeding the political hatred that allows the government to plunge deeper into their war against the poor. Shame on the series producers and on those who would use the show to confirm their prejudices.

Blah. We need to work together people. We need to work together to create a just world. We need to keep speaking out. We need to take action on poor bashing. We need to stop judging those with addictions. We need to recognize that social assistance benefits everyone. And those who are in Ontario, need to make a quick phone call tomorrow to Kathleen Wynne to encourage her to raise the rates of minimum wage. (People are encouraged to take action on that on the 14th of every month.)


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