Canada's public broadcaster was wrong to show a skit that joked about the possible assassination of US President Barack Obama and suggested he could be a thief, an industry panel ruled on Monday.
The New Year's Eve "Bye Bye" comedy program -- shown by the French-language Radio Canada network -- generated more than 200 complaints. In one segment, two hosts discussed Obama's election in November 2008. Obama, who took office in January, is the first black U.S. president.
"We're not racists. It will be good to have a Negro in the White House. It will be practical. Black on white, it will be easier to shoot him," one of the show's hosts remarked.
The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council said it found "nothing redeeming in the allegedly comedic notion that an American president should be shot, still less that this would be easier to achieve because of the color of the president's skin. It was a disturbing, wounding, abusive racial comment."
The show also featured an interview with an actor pretending to be Obama. The host said, "The blacks, you all look alike," and then warned viewers to hide their purses.
The council said the comments and sketches breached regulations, adding they went "too far in terms of Canadian broadcast standards."
The producers of the show denied the skits had been racist, saying they had meant to mock the characters making the offensive remarks.
Polls show that Canadians like Obama far more than they do their own leaders. Tens of thousands turned up to cheer him when he made a brief visit to Ottawa in February. A spokeswoman for the US embassy said she did not know whether the White House had complained about the show.