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Dreadlocked Quebec comic pleads for calm after being told his hairstyle is racist

Zach Poitras is shown in this undated handout photo from Facebook. An aspiring Montreal comedian has been told he cannot take part in shows at a university bar because his dreadlocks are a form of cultural appropriation. The Coop les Recoltes, a bar and solidarity co-operative at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, confirmed on Facebook its decision to exclude Zach Poitras, who is white, because of his hairstyle. Poitras, denied a spot at the Snowflake Comedy Club and another evening of "engaged humour," declined comment on the situation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Facebook, Zach Poitras

MONTREAL — A Montreal comic who was told he could not perform — or even be in the audience — at a comedy show because his hairstyle was considered racist is pleading for calm from both sides of the debate.

Zach Poitras, a white man with dreadlocked hair, received international attention after he was told by the Coop les Recoltes, a bar and solidarity co-operative at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, that his hair is a form of violence.

The bar told Poitras his dreadlocks are a form of cultural appropriation and he was not welcome at a comedy night called the Snowflake Comedy Club. The club says Poitras’ hair is an example of a dominant culture appropriating the symbols, clothing or hairstyles of a historically dominated people.

In a response on Facebook, Poitras says the co-operative overreacted. But he does not appreciate populist opinion writers making him a poster boy for left-wing politics run amok.

Poitras adds he does not agree with a movement by some comedians to boycott future shows at the Coop les Recoltes.

Poitras says he considers himself gender fluid, and in general his politics aline with those of the co-operative. He calls it absurd that his dreadlocked hair led to him being labelled a racist.

The Canadian Press