'Disgraceful and distasteful': Canadians condemn Toronto Sun front page cover on rapper Houdini's death

Bryan Meler
Associate Editor, Yahoo News Canada
Toronto Sun cover of Houdini's death comes under fire

Canadians have taken to Twitter to condemn a Toronto Sun front page cover that used a pun to address the death of 21-year-old year rapper Dimarjio Jenkins. 

The emerging artist, more commonly known as “Houdini”, was killed in a “targeted” daylight shooting in Toronto’s entertainment district on Tuesday.

Upon news of his tragic passing, the Toronto Sun decided to run the headline “Who made Houdini vanish?” as part of its Thursday issue.

The front page cover has been called out for being “disgusting,” and part of a large problem that has affected black people in the city. On Thursday afternoon, the “Toronto Sun” was the second leading trend on Twitter in Canada; it was only behind “#JusticeForRegis.”

Warning: Some tweets contain explicit language.


Others have also pointed out that the Toronto Sun’s headline is part of an ongoing trend at the Postmedia daily publication.

In 2018, following the death of young rapper Smoke Dawg, the Toronto Sun ran a front page cover that read “Smoke Dawg had a gun”. It also featured the Toronto artist smoking what appears to be a blunt.

Toronto police said 23 shots were fired throughout the firefight on Tuesday. A 15-year-old boy (now charged with firearms offences) and a 27-year-old woman bystander were also injured in the shooting that killed Houdini. In addition, a mother and her six-year-old son narrowly missed bullets.

"They were just unfortunately very close to a completely lethal situation," said Det.-Sgt. Andy Singh. "There were numerous people in the neighbourhood. A lot of people's lives could have been put in jeopardy."

According to police, the suspects were waiting in a parked car for Houdini, before they got out and opened fire on the rapper, who collapsed and died from injuries. Two associates with Houdini, as they were walking on Blue Jays Way to a vehicle, drew guns and returned fire.

Toronto police have since released details and images of the men who are wanted in connection to the “targeted” shooting, but they have yet to identify the two suspects.

Along with the news of Houdini’s death, Toronto is currently mourning the tragic and controversial passing of Regis Korchinski-Paquet. 

A 29-year-old black woman, she was declared dead on Wednesday after falling off a 24-storey balcony in Toronto’s High Park. Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is currently investigating the scene, since family members are claiming that Korchinski-Paquet was pushed off the balcony by a police officer.

In the United States, large scale protests continue around the country, especially in Minneapolis after the passing of black man George Floyd. A video appeared earlier this week where a white Minneapolis police officer had his knee over Floyd’s neck, who exclaimed that he “can’t breathe.” Floyd died shortly after.

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