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Grisly accident footage is not comedy fodder, Standards Council rules

Daniel Tosh, host of "Tosh.0"

The Comedy Network must apologize for a 10-second promo clip that used real-life footage of a driver mowing down 40 cyclists on a Brazilian road.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled the violence in the clip was gratuitous and has told the Comedy Network it must tell its viewers that it violated the voluntary code of ethics that Canadian broadcasters have promised to follow.

The crash was used in a promotional spot for the show Tosh.0. In the American-produced show, host Daniel Tosh shows online video clips and "makes humorous comments about them."

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The clip that got the Comedy Network in trouble was aired at 6:46 p.m. on August 6.

The promo began with Tosh saying, "Here's something I'm sure we've all wanted to do," as a car drove over cyclists on a busy street.

Then Tosh said: "And that was the year a car won the Tour de France."

The viewer who complained said it was "completely inappropriate to expect the audience to derive genuine amusement from this scenario." The station rebutted that "comedy is subjective and that it acknowledges that some irreverent humour is distasteful to some viewers."

But the ethics council ruled that it wasn't appropriate and that the Comedy Network must air two notices telling viewers of the ethical breach.

"The Comedy Network's Tosh.0 promo was only 10 seconds long, but it contained a scene of obvious violence as the car plowed through the crowd of cyclists," the CBSC ruled.

"The National Specialty Services Panel notes that this was footage of a real incident that had occurred in Brazil in February 2011. According to reports, there were no fatalities, but as many as 40 people were injured. The Panel considers that the promo's light-hearted treatment of the serious incident did sanction, promote or glamorize violence, particularly since Tosh stated 'Here's something I'm sure we've all wanted to do'. That phrase has the effect of validating and supporting the actions."

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Earlier this year, Global Television was reprimanded for not warning its viewers that Bugs Bunny was about to face a long and drawn out death at the hands of Elmer Fudd on an episode of Family Guy.

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