Montreal Gazette Reporter Calls Shania Twain a "Tramp" & Has an Even Worse Apology

That don't impress us much

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 26: Shania Twain wearing a red bedazzled jumpsuit and red furry jacket and red leather gloves performs during the half-time show at the 105th Grey Cup Championship Game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders at TD Place Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Mark Horton/Getty Images)

(Photo: Mark Horton/Getty Images)

Update: The Montreal Gazette posted an apology for Herb Zurkowsky’s tweets on Monday night. It reads: “The Montreal Gazette would like to publicly apologize to Ms. Twain, its readers and anyone else who came across Zurkowsky’s tweets. His tweets deserve the widespread condemnation they have received and do not reflect the views or values of the Montreal Gazette. In addition to this apology, the Montreal Gazette will further address this incident with Zurkowsky internally.”

While many Canadians tuned into Sunday’s Grey Cup to watch the Toronto Argonauts take on (and, spoiler, eventually beat) the Calgary Stampeders, my interest in sports is pretty much exclusive to the half-time show: and this year, Shania Twain did not disappoint.

The 52-year-old Canadian treasure won the night before she even sang a word, entering the snowy Ottawa stadium on a dogsled and strutting up to the stage, escorted by a v. handsome RCMP officer (I see you boo!). Between her red bedazzled bodysuit, matching fuzzy jacket and on-point performance of classic chart-toppers as well as her newest release, “Life’s About to Get Good,” Twain was basically everything we want for the holiday season.

However, one thing that was defs not on our wish list? The sexist comments about Twain, courtesy of Montreal Gazette sports reporter Herb Zurkowsky. After watching Twain perform at the Grey Cup, Zurkowsky saw users commenting on how great Twain looked, and in response, tweeted, “Shania looked like a tramp.”


No? Alright, here we go.

As Daianna (last name withheld) noted on Twitter,  Zurkowsky’s tweet would be offensive at any time, but it is particularly infuriating given that we’ve spent the last few months watching women open up about their experiences with sexual harassment in every aspect of daily life. So let’s set the record straight. Calling Twain, or any woman for that matter, a “tramp”—which Merriam Webster defines as “a woman who has sex with many different men”—is NOT OK.

Later that night, Zurkowsky deleted the tweet and replaced it with an “apology” that somehow managed to be even more ridiculous than his original comment.

A Tweet from Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky saying "Sorry folks. Didn't mean to offend anyone about Shania Twain, but way too much makeup and should have drssed more conservatively. Apologies"

Let’s just forget for a sec that Twain’s makeup was stunning and she was literally covered head-to-toe in a high-neck bedazzled bodysuit. Guy, even if she had showed up wearing more makeup than Trixie Mattel and the low-cut maple leaf tank top and jean short combo that I wore on Canada Day, that does not give you or anyone license to shame her. Saying “Sorry folks. Didn’t mean to offend anyone about Shania Twain, but way too much makeup and should have dressed more conservatively,” is basically the equivalent of saying “no offense, but…” Just because you start off by saying you “didn’t mean to offend anyone” doesn’t mean that what you said wasn’t offensive AF. Maybe instead of tweeting about how Twain “should have” dressed, you “should have” thought before you shared your misogynistic views with your thousands of followers.

The sexist tweets seem painfully ironic given that two out of the three songs Twain performed were about female empowerment, including lyrics like “I ain’t gonna act politically correct / I only wanna have a good time” and “I wanna be free yeah, to feel the way I feel / Man! I feel like a woman!”

Zurkowsky continued his attempt to apologize save face on Monday morning, deleting the original “apology” and tweeting two new ones.

Despite tweeting out three versions of an apology, nowhere does Zurkowsky actually admit that what he wrote was wrong. Saying that what he tweeted was “insensitive” makes it seem like his words simply risked hurting Twain’s feelings, but what they actually did were to slut-shame the highest-selling female country artist in history. No, these tweets “should not have been posted,” but the real problem is Zurkowsky’s opinion that what a woman wears indicates her value, and his tweets show no recognition or understanding of that flawed and outdated logic. It doesn’t matter if Zurkowsky “meant no harm,” that sentiment is harmful. Oh, and nowhere does Zurkowsky actually apologize to Twain.

In the words of Twain herself, “That don’t impress me much.”


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