Hal Johnson (Screenshot from video)

Johnson says popular ‘Body Break’ series was created to battle racism

Hal Johnson says he was hired by TSN to be a sports reporter in 1988

Television personality Hal Johnson, who co-hosted the Canadian health and fitness segment “Body Break,” says the long-running series was started to combat racism.

In a four-minute YouTube video, Johnson says he was hired by TSN to be a sports reporter in 1988.

Later that day, he says he received another call from the same person saying that he wouldn’t get the job after all because network executives said TSN already had a Black reporter and didn’t want to have two.

Johnson also described a commercial shoot at a Toronto racetrack that year, where he was joined by two white actors to rehearse a cheering scene.

He says that before they shot the scene, a director asked the white woman to sit beside the white man instead of Johnson.

Johnson asked the assistant director about the switch afterwards and was told the client didn’t want the white woman to be seen sitting beside a Black man.

Johnson wondered to himself how he could change things, and after meeting Joanne McLeod, Body Break was born.

Johnson says he was met with resistance when shopping Body Break around to Canadian companies though. He was told the Canadian public wasn’t ready for a Black and white couple.

The two pitched Body Break to Participaction, a federal government program for healthy living, and went on to create 65 Body Break episodes, which were a television fixture for a generation of Canadians.

Johnson and McLeod also appeared on “The Amazing Race Canada” in 2013.

Bell Media’s TSN did not respond to a request for comment.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

racism

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Vancouver Iland pig hogs the limelight by crashing Saturday night party

Central Saanich oinker reunited with owner thanks to missing animal help group

Canadian Ferry Association cautions against politicizing BC Ferry operations

Reasonable safety, not politicized safety way to go, Canadian Ferry Association says

Beloved Parksville volunteer awarded key to the city

July 6 (her 90th birthday) proclaimed as ‘Joan Lemoine Day’

EDITORIAL: Weather playing guessing games

Remember those near zero precipitation totals of July 2017 and ‘18?

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Cowichan School District wins top trades training award

“The welding program provided an amazing head start on my career”

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

Renowned Greater Victoria hockey player back to help with female youth teams

Micah Zandee-Hart has played for the senior national team since 2016

Virtual film industry career fair offers chance to talk with the experts

Experts in 11 different departments, three film union representative will be in attendance

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

RCMP recovers more than $30,000 in stolen property from Saanich storage unit

Items linked to several thefts across Greater Victoria

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Most Read