Canadians have taken to Twitter to condemn a Toronto Sun front page cover that used a pun to address the death of 21-year-old year rapper Dimarjio Jenkins.
The emerging artist, more commonly known as “Houdini”, was killed in a “targeted” daylight shooting in Toronto’s entertainment district on Tuesday.
Upon news of his tragic passing, the Toronto Sun decided to run the headline “Who made Houdini vanish?” as part of its Thursday issue.
The front page cover has been called out for being “disgusting,” and part of a large problem that has affected black people in the city. On Thursday afternoon, the “Toronto Sun” was the second leading trend on Twitter in Canada; it was only behind “#JusticeForRegis.”
Warning: Some tweets contain explicit language.
This is the front page of the Toronto Sun today.
Do we really have to explain how disgusting this is?
We did not choose to be in this system, but they laugh at us when we fall victim to it.
Rest In Peace Houdini.🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/U2BSELsiAd
— Black Medical Students’ Association at U of T (@UofTBMSA) May 28, 2020
Imagine your son/brother/father got shot and you read a headline like that in the Toronto Sun newspaper. Are you tweaked??? That’s so wrong and the tweet is STILL up.
— انا حبيبتو (@wiseyute) May 28, 2020
that toronto sun cover is incredibly disrespectful. black people’s lives are not a joke.
— vicky mochama (@vmochama) May 28, 2020
This is disgraceful & distasteful. I don’t know how an editor would approve of this.
— Too Outta Audah (@GiveManNuffBun) May 28, 2020
Toronto Sun is disgusting for this headline, someone lost their life and they decide to write a pun about his death https://t.co/t6dnbR73hY
— Livyyy. (@livyglizzy) May 28, 2020
Two rules about puns in headlines:
- Don't use them on stories about people dying
- They have to be literally true
This one breaks both rules. https://t.co/XaP9syZDaG
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) May 28, 2020
Others have also pointed out that the Toronto Sun’s headline is part of an ongoing trend at the Postmedia daily publication.
In 2018, following the death of young rapper Smoke Dawg, the Toronto Sun ran a front page cover that read “Smoke Dawg had a gun”. It also featured the Toronto artist smoking what appears to be a blunt.
Y’all should of knew Toronto sun was fucked up after they did that to smoke dawg
— 𝙷𝙾𝙽𝙲𝙷𝙾 𝙱𝙰𝙱𝚈 🎗🎗 (@__thehoncho) May 28, 2020
It's forever and always fuck the Toronto Sun. They do this every time a young rapper dies. Every. Single. Time.
— Erin Ashley (@ellhah) May 28, 2020
Ignore the Toronto Sun. They want outrage to bring attention to their tabloid-driven newspaper. Ain’t nobody checking for them. They will do anything for engagement.
— W (@WannasWorld) May 28, 2020
Cancel culture needs to take their talents to Toronto Sun
— Business Klass (@klvssie) May 28, 2020
The editor in chief of the Toronto sun is @AdrienneBatra so instead of directing your tweets to some interns phone, go straight to the source.
— spirit of the STC hot air balloons (@_Berma) May 28, 2020
That Toronto Sun headline is beyond disgusting. But really? Are we surprised? Shocked? I’m shocked you’re shocked. This is who they are. If you’re buying them or working for them, you’re enabling them. It’s not hard. #Toronto
— Michelle Jones (@maej43) May 28, 2020
Joe Warmington one of Toronto Sun's top journalists made up fake Drake lyrics in an article about the death of Houdini. pic.twitter.com/G9jF2Qix9o
— 6ixBuzzTV (@6ixbuzztv) May 28, 2020
Toronto Sun has been a racist newspaper for YEARS https://t.co/Gr5lU7DoRv
— Theology²⁴ (@KingAirAnderson) May 28, 2020
Toronto police said 23 shots were fired throughout the firefight on Tuesday. A 15-year-old boy (now charged with firearms offences) and a 27-year-old woman bystander were also injured in the shooting that killed Houdini. In addition, a mother and her six-year-old son narrowly missed bullets.
"They were just unfortunately very close to a completely lethal situation," said Det.-Sgt. Andy Singh. "There were numerous people in the neighbourhood. A lot of people's lives could have been put in jeopardy."
According to police, the suspects were waiting in a parked car for Houdini, before they got out and opened fire on the rapper, who collapsed and died from injuries. Two associates with Houdini, as they were walking on Blue Jays Way to a vehicle, drew guns and returned fire.
Toronto police have since released details and images of the men who are wanted in connection to the “targeted” shooting, but they have yet to identify the two suspects.
Along with the news of Houdini’s death, Toronto is currently mourning the tragic and controversial passing of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
A 29-year-old black woman, she was declared dead on Wednesday after falling off a 24-storey balcony in Toronto’s High Park. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is currently investigating the scene, since family members are claiming that Korchinski-Paquet was pushed off the balcony by a police officer.
In the United States, large scale protests continue around the country, especially in Minneapolis after the passing of black man George Floyd. A video appeared earlier this week where a white Minneapolis police officer had his knee over Floyd’s neck, who exclaimed that he “can’t breathe.” Floyd died shortly after.
How do you feel about the Toronto Sun’s cover? Vote in the poll above and leave a comment below.