Biased policing, martyrdom, white gratitude & brown pain: media narratives surrounding the Bruce McArthur case
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Between 2010 - 2017, eight men from Toronto’s Gay Village went missing and later discovered murdered by Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old gay, white man from Toronto. Upon McArthur’s 2018 arrest, allegations of racial bias and homophobia against Toronto Police resurfaced, questioning the safety and protection of Toronto’s LGBTQ2SIA+ community. Existing research on news media framing of crime victims lacks to understand how the news media frames queer victims of crime. This research sought to explore the emergent media narratives framing the McArthur case through a critical discourse analysis of 212 news items from the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and Xtra. Findings suggest that local media coverage of the McArthur case centered around three major narratives: (i) biased policing by Toronto Police, (ii) different portrayals of white victims and families versus brown victims and families, and (iii) the complexity of intersecting victim characteristics. The implications of these narratives are discussed.