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This Politician Claims He Said "Choo" Not "Jew" And Now It's A Whole Thing

You be the judge.

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A city councillor in Calgary seems very sure he didn't say "Johnny Jew" during a debate, although that's certainly what it sounds like in a video of his remark.

View this video on YouTube

Ward Sutherland, who is running for re-election, was speaking about Calgary's public art policy during a candidates' debate on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Calgary unveiled a $500,000 public art installation by New York artist Del Geist, which was almost universally criticized as an ugly waste of money.

Sutherland said part of the problem is that committees picking public art projects are made up of artists.

"When they were looking at it, they're going 'Johnny Jew from New York, he's the best artist so we're going to use him and not even look at it,'" he seems to have said.

Sutherland claims he said something else entirely, though.


In a statement released to media, Sutherland said: "During our discussion about public art at the forum I referenced a famous New York designer with the last name of Choo."

There does not appear to be a famous New York designer named "Johnny Choo." Jimmy Choo, who is known for making sought-after designer women's shoes, is based in London.

Sutherland blamed rival candidates for creating "a media story out of something that is simply not true" and encouraged people to watch the video for themselves.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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