About 30 people turned out to rally outside Q104′s headquarters in Halifax on Thursday afternoon to protest the radio station’s controversial The Male is in the Czech contest.
Both men and women chanted and held up signs under the watchful eyes of Q104 employees, who looked down upon the protest from the top floor windows of their office on Kempt Road.
The station’s contest – dubbed on the Q website as a “mail-order bride” giveaway – closed today, which also happens to be International Women’s Day.
Winners of the contest will fly to Prague, Czech Republic , where they will participate in the Flying Hearts International Dating Service , which according to its website, gives men the opportunity to ” meet many beautiful, educated and devoted Czech and Eastern European women … for friendship, long-term relationship and marriage.”
The protesters hailed a number of supportive honks from vehicles passing through the intersection at Kempt and Lady Hammond Roads.
One man who was stopped at a red light yelled from his truck, “Q104 rocks” before revving his engine and speeding away.
Derrick Dixon, an organizer of the protest, said he wants the station to cancel the contest.
“It really saddens me that they are doing this,” he said amongst the bustle. “It saddens me that it has come to this point where we’re actually out here yelling at them to stop it.”
But the station isn’t making any apologies. J.C. Douglas, Q104′s program director, said “while we welcome the publicity,” he doesn’t understand why the station is being associated with sex trafficking.
“There’s a difference between sexy and sexism,” said Douglas.
“The responses I’ve had from people in the Czech Republic… they seem perplexed at the attitude in Canada that the Czech Republic is some third world nation where they can’t even have a reputable online dating service without it being connected to this grimy underworld.”
On Wednesday, Halifax MP Megan Leslie denounced the contest in her House of Commons statement in Ottawa, saying Q104 is “using damaging ideas about foreign women’s sexuality to titillate Canadian listeners.”