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

Just Posted

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Woman who talked to unconscious husband, a Victoria police officer, for 30 years focus of study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Most Read