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Richard Burnett

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Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett is a writer, editor, journalist and columnist. His column and blog, "Three Dollar Bill", deals with gay life and culture across Canada and around the world. Burnett was also Editor-at-Large of Montreal's alternative newsweekly Hour for 15 years until the newspaper published its last issue on April 7, 2011.[1] Burnett has also been a regular writer and columnist for both Xtra! and Fugues magazine since 1998. Burnett is also Senior Editor-at-Large and columnist for The Charlebois Post - Canada (or "CharPo") which reports on Canada's opera, dance and theatre scenes; and writes his POP TART blog and weekly Seven Days, Seven Nights column [2] for the Montreal daily newspaper The Gazette (Montreal). Burnett is also a pop culture pundit on Montreal's CJAD 800 AM Radio.

Burnett was one of the original organizers of Montreal’s internationally-renowned Divers/Cité festival, was the founding president of the Montreal chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, is a regular lecturer and panelist at universities and conferences, co-starred in the first season of the Life Network’s reality-TV series Out in the City,[3] and has been interviewed and profiled in publications across Canada, Europe and the U.S., including Xtra!, Ryerson Review of Journalism, Washington Blade, Canada's publishing-industry Masthead magazine, Australia's DNA (magazine) and the international Dutch magazine WINQ.[4] Burnett was named one of Alberta-based Outlooks magazine's Canadian Heroes of the Year in their June 2009 issue,[5] was dubbed "Canada’s bad boy syndicated gay columnist" by porn director Flash Conway and is also listed by Quebec's French-language gay publication Fugues as one of that province's 100 most influential gay Quebecers.[6] "As Michael Musto is to New York City, Richard Burnett is to Montréal," The Montréal Buzz stated in April 2010.[7]

Three Dollar Bill

The column debuted in July 1996 and has also run in several other alternative newsweeklies, gay publications and websites, including Vue Weekly (Edmonton), Uptown (Winnipeg), Pulse Niagara, View Magazine (Hamilton), Echo Weekly (Kitchener), Ottawa XPress, Fab (Toronto), Here magazine (New Brunswick), Current magazine (Newfoundland and Labrador), the Tampa Bay Gazette, and

The column first made national news in September 1998 when Winnipeg’s Uptown magazine dropped the column after one installment ignited a city-wide furor over gay sex.

"After the column was published a local radio personality read excerpts over the air as an example of the kind of material easily accessed by Winnipeg children," Toronto-based Masthead magazine reported in its Nov/Dec 1998 issue. "Reaction was swift and ferocious. Uptown managing editor Jason Nichol says he was "inundated" with angry phone calls and letters; advertisers were chagrined and large-scale distribution points were jeopardized. Nichol says he had no choice but to kill the column. Interestingly, there wasn't a peep of outrage in Edmonton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa or Montreal where other publications carried the same column."

As Montreal Gazette columnist Bill Brownstein reported in his July 26, 2006 column [8] on the 10th anniversary of Three Dollar Bill,

Brownstein also writes, "Burnett has interviewed celebs from diva Cher to author Anne Rice. He has crossed swords with B.B. King and Mordecai Richler. He has outed Ricky Martin - again for hypocrisy - and outraged Cyndi Lauper. And he's had death threats."

Burnett was quoted about rising new HIV supervirus infections in a POZ cover story called "Bite the Bullet" as saying that "If you want to play God, [deliberately] spread HIV and ruin other lives in the process—then do us all a g------ favor and put a f------ bullet through your head instead.”[9]

Burnett's 2004 Hour cover story interview with Jamaican dancehall performer Sizzla [10] was reported on national newscasts in Canada and made international headlines - including in Jamaica's national newspaper The Jamaica Gleaner[11] - after Sizzla told Burnett, "[Homosexuality] is wrong! Once we stoop to sodomites and homosexuals, it is wrong! Wherever I go it is the same thing - burn sodomite, burn battyman. Burn all things that are wrong. Burn it... We must get rid of Sodom and Gomorrah right now." [12] In response to Burnett and British gay activist Peter Tatchell's criticisms, Sizzla wrote the 2005 song Nah Apologize[13] in which he repeats in the chorus, "Rastaman nah apologize to no batty bwoy!"[14]

Burnett made more news when he criticized the World Outgames lost $5.3 million.[18]

Burnett also riled many Canadians when he critiqued the medals of Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics. "The gold and bronze medals look like melted chocolate someone pulled out of their back pocket," Burnett told the Associated Press. "The silver medal looks like it still has foil wrap on it." [19]

Burnett also got the last-ever sit-down interview with James Brown [20] before Brown died on December 25, 2006.

Burnett cites the late Montreal newspaperman Nick Auf der Maur and New York Times bestselling author Felice Picano as his two mentors.[21]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ FUGUES - Qui est Qui?
  7. ^ [6]
  8. ^ [7]
  9. ^ Evans, David (August 2005). "Bite The Bullet". POZ. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  10. ^ [8]
  11. ^ [9]
  12. ^ [10]
  13. ^ [11]
  14. ^ [12]
  15. ^ [13]
  16. ^ [14]
  17. ^ [15]
  18. ^ "Outgames ended up with $5M deficit: province". CBC News. November 13, 2006. 
  19. ^ [16]
  20. ^ [17]
  21. ^ [18]

External links

  • Three Dollar Bill website
  • Seven Days, Seven Nights column at The Montreal Gazette
  • POP TART blog at The Montreal Gazette
  • Richard Burnett's The Abominable Showman column on The Charlebois Post - Canada website
  • Archives of Richard Burnett's column at Fugues magazine
  • Three Dollar Bill archives at Hour magazine
  • Three Dollar Bill archives at the Ottawa X Press
  • Three Dollar Bill archives at Vue Weekly
  • Richard Burnett's "Montreal" archives at Xtra
  • Richard Burnett's "National" archives at Xtra
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