Bell Mobility has finally relented and removed some downloadable ringtones from its website - but only reluctantly - after the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto complained that they're offensive to victims of violence.
In all, three ringtones - Jamie Lee Curtis 's scream from the 78 thriller Halloween (Curtis shouts, "Don't touch me, don't you dare touch me" before letting out a blood-curdling scream) and two clips of Naomi Watts screaming in the new King Kong movie - have been removed.
Customer Laura Morrison got no satisfaction when she first complained to Bell about the Curtis clip. Morrison says she was in shock.
But a Bell customer service rep apparently was not, writing back in an e-mail that "not all genres are for everybody, and to get to the section in question, users have to be looking for Sound FX sounds, possibly for Halloween."
After a second complaint went unanswered, Morrison contacted the Abuse Council. That group got in touch with Parkdale Community Legal Services , which had a lawyer make a call; the ringtones were removed last week.
Bell spokesperson Paolo Pasquini is only half-apologetic. It looks like Bell will likely offer the offending ringtones again in the future and wait for customers to complain if they don't like them.
"We have policies in place, but customer feedback is priority number one with us. We want to provide a wide selection of ringtones."
In June, complaints forced Bell to remove Pimp Tones that referred to "hos" and featured the sound of people being slapped. Angie Rupra , program manager at the Woman Abuse Council, says Bell needs to put tougher standards in place.
"Because the ringtones we were protesting fall under entertainment, technically Bell didn't have to remove them according to its guidelines," she says. "It's a cop-out."
Fighting a snowstorm, a group of 25 people, including ex-employees, rallied outside hipster pizza joint Amato on St. Clair West last Thursday, December 15, demanding the owners stop being Grinches and cough up the $82,000 they claim is owed them in overtime wages and severance pay.
The ex-employees claim they worked long hours with no overtime pay only to have their paycheques bounce when they tried to cash them.
"You can't expect people to just work for free," says organizer Mary Gellatly of Parkdale Community Legal Services .
The Workers' Action Centre is also pointing its finger at the Ministry of Labour for, it says, conducting a half-arsed investigation into former workers' claims and failing to enforce employment standards.
Belinda Sutton , a spokesperson for the ministry, confirms that 10 claims for wages owing, ranging from $40 to $9,980, have been filed against Amato by workers at five downtown locations. The ministry has investigated nine of these claims, and Amato bosses paid in six cases, she says. The ministry has issued orders to pay in three of the remaining four cases.
One ex-cook, Vathanaseelan (who didn't want his last name used), claims he's owed $11,000.
Amato's owners deny all allegations, saying they are themselves the victims of harassment by "saboteur" ex-workers. "We were in a big financial trap a few years ago," says Amato boss Walter Cerneka . "We told the employees, 'If you want to stick with us, we'll definitely pay you - just give us some time.' People said they wanted to stay, and they were paid up to date."