Oprah Winfrey’s Ottawa speaking engagement Wednesday night will be protested by foreskin activists

OTTAWA — While an expected 14,000 people stream into Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night to hear Oprah Winfrey speak, they will be greeted by a group of protesting foreskin activists looking to take the media mogul to task.

This will take a bit of explaining.

The group, the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, or CAN-FAP, opposes the circumcision of baby boys. Oprah has become their target because, they say, she has endorsed an anti-aging skin product that was developed using skin cells harvested from a baby’s foreskin.

The product, made by SkinMedica, sells for around $250 per ounce.
The company could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but has previously explained that it does not use foreskins in the production of the cream, and has not since the original one was used to develop the line of cells nearly two decades ago. (There was actually nothing special about the foreskin — any baby skin would have worked, but foreskins were the available source).

However, CAN-FAP founder Glen Callender, a Vancouver resident who also staged a protest outside the Oprah event there in January, said Tuesday that in his eyes non-consensual male circumcision is a human rights violation that he equates with female genital mutilation.

If you were to do that to me right now, today, as an adult, it would be aggravated sexual assault. You’d go to prison for 14 or 15 years,” Callender said. “I can’t see how that would be any different if you did that to me as a defenceless baby.”

Callender, a 39-year-old freelance writer and editor, said his main issue is the sexual pleasure that’s being taken away from men.

Oprah has had no comment.