Canadian officials lost their minds when an Ontario court justice wore a pro-Trump MAGA hat to work on November 9, the day after election day, and declared himself a fan of the American president. Now, the judge faces a so-called public discipline hearing for the bold move after the system was swamped with 81 complaints filed by crestfallen Hillary supporters.
The controversy began late last year when Ontario court Justice Bernd Zabel wore his red MAGA hat to court and was quoted saying: “Brief appearance with the hat. Pissed off the rest of the judges because they all voted for Hillary, so I was the only Trump supporter up there but that’s okay.”
His fellow judges – who arbitrate the law in a country where it could soon be illegal to criticize Islam – were so triggered by the move that they forced Zabel to apologize.
“What I did was wrong,” he said. “I wish to apologize for my misguided attempts to mark a moment in history by humor in the courtroom following the surprising results in the United States election.”
He also noted that the gesture was not meant to endorse any political views, including those espoused by Donald Trump. His colleagues were not convinced, however; they claimed that his original comments on the day he wore the hat prove that he was indeed a Trump supporter and must be punished as such.
That’s why they are holding a hearing that could wind up slapping Zabel with a punishment ranging from a verbal warning to a recommendation that he be removed from his post. He already has not been asked to hear a single case since December because of the kerfuffle, and now Zabel – who has served the court for nearly three decades – is considering simply retiring because of the ridiculous controversy.