Calgary-based comedian and actor Andrew Phung is urging non-profit organizations not to take donations from W. Brett Wilson and says he’ll boycott any that do, after taking offence at a tweet from the Calgary philanthropist and entrepreneur that he called “terrible and offensive.”
Wilson’s tweet came as he weighed in on whether the city should go ahead and build the $4.9-billion Green Line light rail transit megaproject, which was a key election issue when Naheed Nenshi won re-election for a third term as mayor in 2017.
Back then, Nenshi’s chief rival, the more conservative contender Bill Smith, had called the project a “boondoggle” and said that if elected, he would want to re-evaluate the Green Line plans, then pegged at $4.6 billion — particularly how to go about its first phase.
This week, responding to an assertion that Nenshi’s 2017 win represented Calgarians’ endorsement of the Green Line project, Wilson tweeted: “No. The NE voting block that rose up when [Nenshi] play[ed] the race card was what won the day. Smith’s views on the Green Line were irrelevant.”
Calgary non-profits, this guy is the worst. Please stop taking his money. This, along with many of his comments, are terrible and offensive.<br><br>Going forward I’m no longer emceeing/hosting events run by any organizations still receiving money from or are working with him. <a href=”https://t.co/Ko0G8AasOz”>pic.twitter.com/Ko0G8AasOz</a>
Phung, who stars in the CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience, tweeted Thursday to ask non-profit organizations to stop accepting donations from Wilson.
“Calgary non-profits, this guy is the worst. Please stop taking his money. This, along with many of his comments, are terrible and offensive,” Phung said on Twitter.
“I’m no longer emceeing/hosting events run by any organizations still receiving money from or are working with him,” Phung said on Twitter.
Wilson was a co-star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den from 2008-2011. He has also occasionally appeared as a panelist on CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener and other programs.
In 2018, CBC Calgary decided against using Wilson as a future commentator in light of his social media comments around the hanging or lynching of what he described as traitors, in the context of their opposition to energy development.
Phung’s call to boycott Wilson garnered 683 retweets, but he told CBC News he had no further comments to make on the matter.
Wilson has so far not responded to Phung’s criticism.
Nenshi, though, replied to Wilson’s comment about his election win.
I generally ignore hateful people but wasn’t I just saying yesterday about how the cheapest insult is “playing the race card”? (I also won 12 of 14 wards and biggest margin was in Mr. Wilson’s neighbourhood if memory serves) xx <a href=”https://t.co/5OaKRiOtep”>https://t.co/5OaKRiOtep</a>
“I generally ignore hateful people but wasn’t I just saying yesterday about how the cheapest insult is ‘playing the race card’? (I also won 12 of 14 wards and biggest margin was in Mr. Wilson’s neighbourhood if memory serves),” the mayor tweeted.
The Twitter spat comes as thousands of Calgarians have poured into the streets for demonstrations against police brutality and racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Wilson has been active on social media voicing concerns about the Green Line megaproject, which is awaiting a key vote at city hall that would put its first leg on track for a spring 2021 construction start.
Wilson says he has many concerns about the Green Line, including rising cost-per-kilometre since it was proposed, its alignment and its ridership forecasts.