MP apologizes for remarks about Pamela Anderson

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Gary Kean
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Gerry Byrne has apologized and retracted his comments on social media about the visit to Newfoundland and Labrador by actor Pamela Anderson and “The Simpsons” co-creator Sam Simon Tuesday.

Gerry Byrne. — Telegram file photo

Anderson and Simon came to the province to offer sealers $1 million to give up hunting the animals.

The two, and their entourage, did not receive a warm welcome and Byrne, the Liberal Commons member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, took to Twitter to lambaste them.

In two posts written by Byrne just minutes apart late Tuesday afternoon, the MP criticized Anderson for not donating the money to “sexually transmitted disease prevention education.”

Anderson disclosed years ago that she had contracted hepatitis C from her former husband, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.

“A hasbeen ‘actor’ with an incurable STD and a guy dying of cancer throw down the gauntlet,” Byrne also tweeted. “Men of retirement age aren’t important.”

Simon has cancer and a member of his and Anderson’s entourage later said the seal hunt supporters who protested their publicity stunt in Newfoundland and Labrador were all of retirement age.

Byrne deleted the two posts he made on Twitter and has issued a letter of apology, which follows here in its entirety.

 

Statement of apology from Gerry Byrne

“As I listened to comments that were being made yesterday in St. John’s about the nature of the seal hunt and about those who conduct it made by people opposed to the hunt, frustration, disappointment and anger welled up in me.

“I truly regret, however, my reaction which I would describe as intemperate and unnecessary.

“To all whom I have offended in any way, including Ms. Anderson and Mr. Simon, I sincerely apologize and retract the statements I made on social media. Our strong differences regarding what I believe to be a humane and sustainable harvest of seals off the Canadian coastline and what others may see it as may remain but I apologize for stepping beyond that debate.

“Just as I remain committed to the notion that science and mutual respect should be the foundations of opinion about the seal harvest, the same commitment must be kept for those who suffer from the serious illness of Hepatitis C which affects so many including Ms. Anderson.

“Science brings better understanding and support. I understand from science that Hepatitis C is contracted by sexual activity only on relatively rare occasion. I understand that effective treatments are available that substantially improve the quality of life of all those afflicted. I understand that a cure, while not yet available, is being advanced very quickly. And with this knowledge, I should have assisted in fostering the proper context of this illness and reaffirmed that those who suffer from this affliction should not be stigmatized.

“Two wrongs do not make a right and, as I said within minutes of posting my initial comments, I retract and apologize to all including to the organizations and institutions that support those affected. I will be a stronger advocate for all those who bear this disease in the future.”

 

Similar approach

“A commercial activity and a serious illness are not the same and I don’t pretend them to be. But the way we might approach each other and how we gain understanding about each other’s circumstances might have certain similarities.

“For decades, sealers have been the ones who have insisted that science, and not unfounded opinion, be used to direct their activities and their harvest. It has always been their hope that science would be the instrument to guide public opinion about it. To bring the debate about the future of the seal harvest back from my intemperate comments to where it should be, I apologize.

“I do also ask for those who protest the hunt to consider that science is also at the core of the management of the harvest and can be helpful to everyone’s understanding of it. Panels of internationally renowned veterinarians and leading scientific scholars have reviewed and concluded the hunt to be humane and have had their recommendations taken most seriously.

“It should be acknowledged that sealers have asked for relentless oversight by independent enforcement officials to ensure humane and ethical harvesting methods are maintained. It is worth stating that government regulation is robust and that international observers are free to monitor the hunt each and every year. Much has been done to combat mis-information about the harvest but some have simply choose not to listen with an open mind.

“What I am pointing out here is in no way a qualifier to my apology to those who I may have offended with my earlier remarks. The opposite is true. I should have known better. Wrongs never make a right. And who should best be able to understand that principle and to act upon it than someone who has witnessed what has happened to something they value and wish to protect as I do.

“Being true to one’s self means being true to others. I made a mistake in judgment. I apologize to all offended. It is sincere and heartfelt.”

 

The Western Star

Organizations: Liberal Commons, Motley Crue

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Western Star

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • nba
    December 21, 2013 - 12:12

    We had a "world stage" and could have done a "world of good"!

  • John
    December 19, 2013 - 17:35

    Why apologize at all!!!!!!!I would have said the same about the likes of those two. Three cheers for Gerry Byrne and believe me, I am not LIBERAL!!11

  • Henry
    December 19, 2013 - 14:40

    Why did the media even cover this. It's just what PETA wanted.

  • The Newfie Way
    December 19, 2013 - 14:33

    You take 1 step forward (stupid PETA) and then some moron NL politician (Byrne insults Cancer patients and retired people) pushes you 2 steps backwards. Lost Opportunity.

  • AM
    December 19, 2013 - 13:24

    Maybe we should be more focused on the thousands of innocent children being murdered in Syria and other countries lately. Families are being murdered with barrel bombs as they wait in bread lines to feed their babies....who is trying to help them? 3 million babies die every year in India because they have no access to health care, who is trying to help them? The examples are endless...there are millions of people worldwide that need our help. A mere 40,000 seals are killed for food and clothing . I couldn't believe they had the nerve to say in the media that we need to stop killing baby seals. They know that doesn't happen, it's illegal in Canada. I can understand Gerry's frustration here. Pam and Simon are just looking for media attention to raise money for the PETA executives to live their lavish lifestyles. PURE GREED AND NOTHING ELSE.

  • Corporate Psycho
    December 19, 2013 - 11:41

    Mr. Byrne was only picking up for the seal hunt which he has done for years. A bit of a knee jerk reaction but I guess he was frustrated. Keep up the good work Gerry. A lot of self righteous people posting here.

  • H Jefford
    December 19, 2013 - 07:24

    I would think that Pamela Anderson, like a lot of other American and Canadian, yes and people all over the world, That do not realize the true effect that the great seal herd that has become so large they are destroying the largest food source in the WORLD THE NORTHERN COD STOCK , They ar going up rivers after salmon , NTV should have a film that was seen on the NTV news of seals hunting like a pack of wolves, herding live cod fish upon the beach and people picking up live cod fish on the beach driven there by seals ,The fishermen in that area said that this small cove where this was filmed was 3-4 ft deep in dead fish with their bellies torn out, it was said the seals only eat the fish livers

    • Jay
      December 19, 2013 - 08:00

      Surely, we are not naïve enough to believe that PETA doesn't know the truth about seal populations. They know but they don't care, because the truth hurts fundraising.. The sealing industry is one of PETA's biggest income generators. However, they have to keep telling the lies of the past (baby white coats being clubbed to death) because this is what tugs at the heartstrings of their well-meaning, ignorant donors. It's their best marketing tool and they won't stop. Unfortunately, we've lost this battle and Gerry Byrne acting like an idiot doesn't help our cause one bit. He is now just one more Newfoundland barbarian.

    • Jay
      December 19, 2013 - 08:01

      Surely, we are not naïve enough to believe that PETA doesn't know the truth about seal populations. They know but they don't care, because the truth hurts fundraising.. The sealing industry is one of PETA's biggest income generators. However, they have to keep telling the lies of the past (baby white coats being clubbed to death) because this is what tugs at the heartstrings of their well-meaning, ignorant donors. It's their best marketing tool and they won't stop. Unfortunately, we've lost this battle and Gerry Byrne acting like an idiot doesn't help our cause one bit. He is now just one more Newfoundland barbarian.

  • jim
    December 19, 2013 - 07:07

    " Men of retirement age aren't important ". I hope that ALL men who fall into age group will remember that for the next Federal Election and NOT vote for Gerry. He would then see how important they are.

    • Marshall Art
      December 19, 2013 - 09:46

      Hey, Jim, read the article. Gerry Byrne didn't make the comment about retired people. It was made by one of the people in Simon's entourage.

  • Chris
    December 19, 2013 - 06:32

    Have to agree with Joe and the Hutton comment. A certain news team all of a sudden decides to add certain adjectives to their news reporting. That isn't right. Shock headlines akin to the National Enquirer just doesn't cut it for me. Please...just the facts Fred.

  • R macneil
    December 19, 2013 - 06:13

    Byrne is a tool. No stamps, no hunt. It's that simple.

  • Great Leadership
    December 19, 2013 - 06:12

    Thank you Mr. Byrne for playing right into their hands. I'm sure this is the type of reaction they were hoping to get when these imbeciles came here. Up until this, I felt we had taken the "high road" in our reaction. So much for that

  • joe
    December 19, 2013 - 06:09

    Byrne is the embarrassment here. Imagine taking a shot like that at a fellow Canadian. I am not sure what has happened to Nflders but just laugh at the offer and move on. Fred Hutton says she is a so called actor; Byrne says washed up - what clowns. Talk about sex transmitted?? Did anyone else see the number of NFlders in Alberta getting AIDS? You are just a politician Gerry. Get over yourself.

    • David Walker
      December 19, 2013 - 09:23

      He should stand by his comments. I am so tired of men not having the courage to say what they think and stand by it. She is a has been who made herself based on her breast size...... period. Why is telling the truth such a bad thing these days.