February 15, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

French Canadians found Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to be, well, insulting — and they’re holding Conan O’Brien to blame. After the Canadian government brought O’Brien’s show to Toronto for a week, the show presented a segment in which Triumph visited Quebec and told one resident, ”I can smell your crotch from here,” and told another, heavyset one, ”Are you a separatist? Maybe you should try separating yourself from doughnuts first.” Triumph also suggested that the Quebecois should consider learning English.

After an outcry from some Canadians, the country’s government condemned the show. ”We want to dissociate ourselves from the comments which were broadcast last night,” junior government minister Mauril Belanger said Friday in Parliament, according to the Washington Post. ”We do not support them in any way.” One legislator, Alexa McDonough, called the show ”utterly vile” and asked that the government get back the $760,000 it paid to help O’Brien to relocate for the week, according to the Post.

The scandal was front page news in Canada, with the Toronto Star calling the sketch ”hateful” and ”racist.” O’Brien hasn’t apologized, and an NBC spokesperson told the New York Times that he’ll have no further comment. Triumph, meanwhile, must be pining for the days when his nemesis was Eminem, not an entire country.

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