Toronto shock jock Dean Blundell is defending himself against charges of homophobia after he was dismissed from radio station 102.1 The Edge in the wake of crude comments he made about a gay man.
"If you do something every single day, for as long as I have, making a career out of pushing the envelope and being inappropriate at times, there are bound to be differences of opinion that arise," he said in a statement posted to deanblundell.com on Friday morning. "But I am not a homophobe."
Corus Radio, owner of The Edge, cancelled The Dean Blundell Show on Monday, three weeks after suspending Blundell and his co-host and producer Derek Welsman for homophobic jokes Welsman had made about serving as the jury foreman on a trial in which a man was found guilty of sexually assaulting three men he met at a Toronto bathhouse.
Blundell made an on-air apology for the comments before the suspension.
In the statement posted on Friday, he said of the cancellation: "As a result of this decision, there have been claims in other corners that I am homophobic and that is what led to the end of my show. Let me state unequivocally that I am not a homophobe."
He added: "Over the 13 years I have been live on the radio, I consistently had guests on from the LGBT community. I did not discriminate on my show. I made fun of everything and everyone, and was encouraged to do so with the brand of entertainment we were employed to deliver. I have always been supportive of my gay friends and of the gay community."
Blundell had been a fixture of The Edge since joining the station in April, 2001, regularly scoring the No. 1 spot among male listeners aged 18-34. He has been frequently censured by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. But he is an equal opportunity offender: of the six CBSC decisions handed down against Blundell in 2012 and 2013, one was for homophobic comments. The others cited him for contravening the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Code of Ethics or its Violence Code with comments denigrating women or sanctioning violence.