The Players: SlutWalk Toronto, a feminist march created after a Toronto Police officer labeled women and people most at risk of sexual assault as “sluts." The wildly successful march parlayed itself into an online presence and (in its own words) is "a mechanism for increased dialogue on victim-blaming, slut-shaming, misogynist and oppressive ideas that need to be challenged." Tennis Canada, Canada's Tennis Federation which is sponsoring the upcoming Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto.
The First Serve: A tweeter snapped a picture of an outdoor ad pitching Rogers Cup tickets and tweeted the photo to SlutWalk Toronto. The ad reads " Come for the Ladies, Stay for the Legends." SlutWalk then tweeted: "Way to champion female athletes, #RogersCup." Heather Jarvis, the site's co-founder told NOW magazine, "It’s demeaning towards women. It suggests women are just the initial attraction, they don’t actually matter...It says the real athletes, the real legends, are the men."
The Return Volley: In an follow-up with NOW, Tennis Canada president Michael Downey said that while the organization is taking the criticism very seriously, at this time he has no plans to make a public apology or remove the ads. He said the slogan refers to the men as “legends” not because they are superior players to the female stars, but because they’re retired champions. “It’s not that the women aren’t great tennis players, but they’re just current players,” he said. “I can guarantee you that Venus and Serena Williams will be classified as legends, but probably not until they retire." This morning, the SlutWalk tweeted, "Tennis Canada says they're not getting many complaints about their sexist Rogers Cup ad, won't take it down & won't apologise." In an update with NOW, Downey has said “It’s a timing thing. The legends event is at the end of the week. The women start on Monday, and the (men’s tournament) is Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” A Rogers spokesperson told NOW Tennis Canada developed the ad campaign and Rogers played no role in its creation.