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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

In photos and video: Colourful Canada Day parade rolls through Sicamous

Patriotic procession allows community to celebrate together while maintaining distance

RCMP find Shuswap man with replica weapon in breach of conditions

Chase resident ticketed for driving with inactive licence plates

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Popular Shuswap cross-country running event postponed

Region’s Lewiston Ultra on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic

Evacuation alert issued for Ravenscroft property

A single-family property has been put under evacuation alert due to land slippage and bank erosion

North Okanagan man gives back for Canada Day

Food packages given away to those living on the streets in Vernon

Dog rescued from rocky ledge in Summerland

Penticton Search and Rescue members perform high angle rescue

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Okanagan mine makes way for industrial project

Council holds a special meeting to rezone property

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

Water floods North Okanagan skate park, playground

Polson Park remains closed following Tuesday storms

Two rescued from tipped sailboat in Okanagan Lake near Kelowna

The two men were quickly brought to shore by a marine rescue crew

Most Read