Former government-funded consultant Laith Marouf, whose group’s funding was pulled because of deragotary tweets with comments such as “Jewish white supremacists,” says Heritage Canada “begged” his group to take over $130,000 in funding.
Marouf, a senior consultant working for the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) in Montréal, said Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s department of Canadian Heritage initially approached CMAC, asking them to apply for federal grants.
“Heritage Canada outreached to the Community Media Advocacy Centre, the group that I work for, which is the global authority on this issue, and begged us to apply within four days to receive funding to create a series of conferences across the country that bring together racialized and Indigenous broadcasters, media producers, academics, to discuss a strategy for anti-racism in the media,” Marouf told an American podcaster on Oct. 23, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“We were shocked because there were no funding packages open for us to apply to,” said Marouf. “We applied anyway and we got the money very fast. We did all this work.”
In total, CMAC received over $133,822 in funding from Heritage Canada, which was pulled on Aug. 22 shortly after past Twitter posts by Marouf were found in which he referred to Jewish people using derogatory terms such as “bags of human feces, aka the Jewish White Supremacists.”
Rodriguez condemned Marouf’s tweets on Sept.1.
“Racism in any form has no place in Canada. I condemn the disgusting antisemitic comments made by Laith Marouf,” Rodriguez told the Canadian Press. “I have no tolerance for this.”
Rodriguez also said the CMAC should never have received “a cent of taxpayer dollars.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Aug. 31 that it is “absolutely unacceptable that federal dollars have gone to this organization that has demonstrated xenophobia, racism and antisemitism.”
Before the Twitter posts surfaced, Marouf and CMAC hosted a workshop in Vancouver on May 14 to speak about “racist discourses” and “white supremacy” in the Canadian media.
At the workshop, a former policy analyst for the Canadian Heritage Department, Karim Karim, praised CMAC for its “progressive and forward-thinking activism” and said that Canadian media “upholds white supremacy, genocide, and colonialism.”
Marouf hosted the event, which he opened by calling the Israeli Defence Force “Zionist occupation forces” and said Israel is a “Zionist apartheid regime.”
Referring to his controversial Twitter posts, Marouf told the American podcaster on Oct. 23 that Heritage Canada “went into a frenzy to attack my tweets.”
“They were calling me names, all these MPs, the Minister of Heritage, defaming me, misrepresenting me, libeling me,” he said, according to Blacklock’s.
“Now Heritage Canada broke the contract and is asking for all the money back from the Community Media Advocacy Centre.”
Marouf added that CMAC had already spent “half of the money” by the time Heritage Canada pulled its funding.
“As this debacle shows, the media across Canada are Jewish white supremacists or supporters of Jewish white supremacy,” he said.
Heritage Canada has yet to name which of the department’s staff was responsible for approving CMAC’s funding.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.