Junos 2014 in the Thicke of 'Blurred Lines' controversy
Rubab Abid, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Saturday, March 29, 2014 5:46PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 29, 2014 9:53PM EDT
As fans get set to celebrate the best in Canadian music at this year’s Juno Awards, an online petition is looking to get one performer booted off the show.
Robin Thicke, who rose to international fame with his summer smash hit “Blurred Lines”, has become the target of an online campaign urging Juno organizers to drop his performance from Sunday's show.
Thicke has been the target of widespread criticism aimed at the lyrics and video for his catchy tune, which critics claim promote sexism, rape culture and the degradation of women.
Critics have noted that the lyrics’ suggestion there are "blurred lines" when it comes to sexual consent, with its repeated refrains of "I know you want it," trivialize the issue of sexual assault and violence against women.
The song's four-minute video, an unrated version of which has racked up more than 31 million views on YouTube, features topless women dancing around Thicke and the song`s producer Pharrell.
Thicke addressed the outrage in an interview with GQ, where he admitted the point of the video was to push people's buttons.
“We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women."
"What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before," he later noted.
Thicke, who is nominated for three Junos including Artist of the Year, is scheduled to perform at the award show Sunday night.
His addition to the Juno lineup even prompted Canadian Catherine Vanner to create a petition on the website Change.org asking Juno organizers to drop Thicke's performance and nominations from the show.
"We started the petition because we want to protest the celebration of this song and this message at the Canadian Juno Awards, which are supposed to be a celebration of the best and brightest in Canadian music," Vanner told CTV News Channel.
“We find the song to be problematic because it is sexist but it also celebrates a cultural acceptance of sexual violence and it does so by suggesting that a woman's resistance to sexual advances is something that is sexy, is something that is an invitation and a challenge instead of an indication that she is not interested in sleeping with somebody, “ she added.
“This is not a song, nor a message, that should be rewarded," she writes on the website.
Vanner says the issue of blaming rape victims is a problem that effects all Canadians, pointing to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, the Nova Scotia teen who took her own life last year after an alleged sexual assault, and recent frosh week chants “glorifying rape“ at St. Mary's University and the University of British Columbia.
By Saturday evening, the petition had received approximately 1,100 signatures, close to its goal of 1,500.
“We put it online about a month ago and we've had a really strong response overall,“ Vanner said.
“It's now been signed by 1,145 people, so we think that signifies that a significant number of Canadians share our feelings and sentiments about the song and that it`s not something that should be celebrated on stage at the Canadian Juno Awards tomorrow night. “
When asked about the controversy on Friday, Junos host Serena Ryder suggested defining what’s right and what’s wrong in music is a matter of differing opinions.
"Everybody has their idea of what they think that lyrics should be in their songs," Ryder told The Canadian Press.
"I have a lyric 'do you mind if I get drunk and said I want to take you home to bed' (in the song "Weak In The Knees"), and there's, like, these little kids singing it and I'm, like ... I shouldn't have put that in there, but then it's like, whoa, it's the moment you're in."
Juno officials would not offer any comment on the petition, and Thicke remains scheduled to perform on the show.
With files from CTV’s Jill Macyshon and The Canadian Press