11.02.2014 07:55 AM

Questions for CBC about personalities other than Ghomeshi

Sent from a former senior CBC person I know and respect. It wasn’t just Jian, seems.

Warren, I just read your piece about who knew what and when at the CBC and one of its reporters who is on the fast track to oblivion. Great piece. And I have my suspicions! Indeed, there are some lingering questions:

i. Will the external investigators limit the scope of their enquiry to complaints related to Jian? What if employees come forward with complaints about other CBC on-air persons?
ii. Has the CBC entered into contractual arrangements involving financial compensation for employees who have departed the corporation due to workplace harassment or improprieties on the part of high-profile on-air personalities including but not limited to Jian?
iii. If so, how much money have taxpayers spent on making amends for such workplace improprieties and have any offending employees maintained their positions, if not Jian?

Those are the questions I would be asking were I covering the story…


  1. Kaplan says:

    Bad year for the CBC. On the financial side, losing HNIC was bad enough. Adding the Jian thing is so much worse. If Harper was ever looking for the perfect storm moment, when not only its detractors but its supporters had lost faith in the Corp, now would be the time to pull the plug, or at least make some drastic change, to the CBC.

  2. Kevin T. says:

    CBC’s enemy isn’t Harper, it’s CBC.

    • debs says:

      Bingo! Harper might as well stand back and watch it selfdestruct.

      • Lance says:

        Exactly. Why would Harper listen to the more rabid Conservative supporters that demanded that the instant the Conservatives had their majority that he utterly defund the CBC or sell it off in one shot? Why would he risk any backlash across the country doing that when he can just watch it bleed away by a thousand cuts and take it apart piecemeal like he has been doing with the funding cuts anyway? But speaking of that and given what we’ve seen reported (let alone whatever might come next), how outraged would people be if he just eliminated it now regardless? Would people REALLY be that upset about it?

        Warren asked a very pertinent comment/question in a recent post – The allegations were myriad, and had been well-known for months, we are now told. So, did the CBC investigate? Why not, if not? And if they did, why did they not act sooner? It’s The Question, and it’s one to which the CBC had better have a damn convincing answer. (If it wants to survive, that is.)

        I doubt that Harper had any real idea of what has been really going down over there in this recent regard, but even if he did, now he gets to sit back and just smile that smug smile while this rotten behemoth burns down around them on it’s own, and all he’ll have to do later is douse the smoldering ashes.

        In the internet age of instant news, and given what we’ve seen, I don’t think people are going to be that upset about it or want to even try to justify spending over a billion dollars to keep it alive. I would be surprised if the CBC lasts any longer than five more years before it becomes a memory. IF Harper wins the next election with another majority, I would venture to say it is almost a certainty; if the Conservatives win a minority, they’ll just bleed it some more until it happens anyway.

      • Bobby says:

        Why are you making it sound like the problem with CBC began and may end with Harper?
        I bit of a stretch.

  3. Iris Mclean says:

    Yup. Harper has been having a few good weeks.

  4. L. Bell says:

    The Propagandists

    I awoke to pompous Michael Enright wax poetic about “these women” – the women Ghomeshi violently attacked a la the Taliban. The Globe and Mail had a nice front page image of the Hammer and Sickle. Subtle. Wikipedia devotee and propagandist Margaret Wente writes of “The distorted reality of ‘Big Ears Teddy'” as if this was some children’s game – not the violent, sociopathic coercion of society’s most precious resource: her young women. Internationalist Doug Saunders writes “The world is not awash in refuges: Open the gates.” Mind, hand-wringing Saunders also writes about the “ethnic problem”: “The English …prone to violence, rioting and substance abuse…In measures of alcohol abuse, ‘trouble with police while drinking’ and lawbreaking, they outrank any other ethnic group in Britain (except the Irish)” – evidently, the Irish are the benchmark of degeneracy. What Enright, Wente, Saunders, and all the rest all share is the view that Canadians need to be schooled – To Sir With Love on a national scale. This was the rationale behind Jian Ghomeshi after all.

    To the propagandists we say: We’ve had enough of your warmed-over Marxism. Enough of having to be glorified concubines for Jian Ghomeshi and the emirs of the CBC and everywhere else. Enough of your media sanitation efforts. Shame on you Wente. We’ve had enough of bringing people to our shores, who hate, loathe, and detest us, especially us women. Who think we’re loose sluts because we won’t submit to the whims, wishes, and delusions of the brown alpha male. Look to Jian Ghomeshi as a harbinger. Look to Tom Flanagan. Look to News of the World. Look to CBC. Our cadres are in position. One by one, we are going to neutralize you. Depend on it.

    One of myriad cases:


    • Houland Wolfe says:

      Wow, what a rant! Insults …. “warmed-over Marxism”, “brown alpha male”. And then the threat “Our cadres are in position. One by one, we are going to neutralize you. Depend on it.” Is L.Bell short for LuluBell?

  5. patrick says:

    The CBC is a huge corporation. There is no guarantee of individual perfection because it’s a huge corporation. If anything huge corporations, particularly public ones – CBC, BBC, Football programs, hockey programs, etc. that rely on public interest – seem particularly susceptible to poorly handling almost any problem because they are so worried about public profile. And they are caught at both ends because one they don’t want to be wrong and they don’t want to be right because both cause the corporation profile and money. It’s not a ‘CBC” problem it’s an institutional problem.

  6. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Put the CBC out of taxpayers’ misery today, and use the savings to pay for the F-35s for the next 40 years…with change left over.

  7. JH says:

    One huge question still remains. What did the CBC know and when did they know it? No way this just blew up overnight – that not believable. I also highly doubt questionable behaviour by high profile CBC folks are confined to just one case. I have no doubt that some ‘real’ investigative journalists are already digging much deeper. ‘Tis said they could well afford to take a close look at all the ‘Dandy Lions’ of Canadian journalisim, both within the Pariliamentary Press Gallery and amongst the stars of the Toronto media gang as well. Plenty of stories circulating right now, that there’s lots more to be found.
    And many on here are exactly right when they say Harper doesn’t have to lift a finger to get rid of the CBC and the Billion Dollar subsidy – the Corp. and it’s minions will do it for him.
    Many in the media are about to discover just how few friends they have, when the chips go down.

  8. sezme says:

    I suspect is was always thus in the entertainment industry at large, and not just the CBC, that management is so jealous of their talent, that they are ready willing and able to ignore the privately unseemly side of the talent, as long at that side stays private. That said, I doubt whether Ghomeshi’s (alleged) crimes were well known to anyone apart from the complainants, though there may well have been whispers around the Q offices. But whispers aren’t actionable, and being a jerk is well tolerated in most workplaces as long as that jerk is making a lot of money for the company or in the case of CBC Radio, providing a popular public face. Most companies don’t have the guts to implement a “no asshole rule“.

    So I don’t think this is the end of the CBC. Actually I think they’ve handled the aftermath reasonably well, though not as transparently as they might, and hopefully that’ll change once the lawsuit is dismissed. The one thing they should certainly have done differently is take action when the one employee we know about complained to her managers. But it’s unsurprising that they didn’t for the reasons I stated above. And what she suffered was garden variety sexual harassment, as unacceptable as that is. If Ghomeshi had been quietly let go for just that, the stories of the women who were violently assaulted may never have been heard, and he might have continued on the same path for several more years. But ultimately we have not the CBC but The Star and Jesse Brown (not to mention the brave women who finally told their stories) to thank for making this story public. Ironically, though, the Star story might have withered unpublished had the CBC not fired Ghomeshi and had Ghomeshi not publicly responded. It’s a bit like the story of Narcissus – he loved himself too much to see the danger.

    • Lance says:

      So I don’t think this is the end of the CBC.

      By itself? Probably not. Yet one more brick in the wall? Not very doubtful.

    • Peter says:

      Actually I think they’ve handled the aftermath reasonably well

      Do you? What about what came before? Do they expect us to believe they didn’t enable shamefully when this kind of stuff is now emerging? Are we talking about Canada’s journalism community or the Masons?

      • sezme says:

        Look I’m not a professional CBC defender nor an employee, just a radio listener. I read the new Star article where the professor stopped a student from interning at Q because of past reports. Again, there was no indication that either the student or the professor brought their concerns to the CBC at large.

        Ghomeshi’s behaviour was obviously a problem. Was it systemic? The question is how many people knew about it. Did Ghomeshi victimize women when no one else was around or within earshot? Likely. Did everyone at the CBC know how bad it was? Probably not, but the CBC has at least hired a third party to investigate the extent of the problem. And they have been reporting about it rather than ignoring it. But yes, if people tried to report his behaviour within the company in the past and were shut down, that is definitely a problem. It just wouldn’t be that surprising.

  9. Lance says:

    Ghomeshi’s little Facebook stunt was too cute by half and now it’s biting him in the ass. So is his little lawsuit.

    CBC seems outraged by Ghomeshi’s $55 million lawsuit. But what happens if these 9 women that came forward (and who knows how many more potentially) decide to break their anonymity and file a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the CBC AND Ghomeshi? Or what about former employees or interns of the CBC that complained about this kind of harassment to their supervisors, yet they felt nothing was done and they ended up leaving as a result? What if THEY file a class action lawsuit? See, they can play Ghomeshi’s game, too.

    This shit-storm is just getting started.

  10. Ruby says:

    The good, the bad and the ugly… CBC is all of those mainly because they are floating in Billion$$$$ annual perpetual government subsidy. They are pigging out on taxpayers money and they feel entitled to their entitlements. Time to chop up the CBC into pieces and discard the pieces that are money pits of little to no value to the Canadian taxpayer.

    The CBC is operating as a liberal propaganda organ and there can be no doubt about that. It should be dismantled and discarded. The CBC should return to it’s original mandate to provide basic news, entertainment and documentary services. Terminate the CBC News network because it has become a ratnest of liberals and global extremists.

  11. patrick says:

    Why is everyone treating the “CBC” as if it’s a conscious entity, as if the CBC makes conscious decisions. It’s a company. It makes no choices. People, those who work at the CBC, may have or have not had knowledge of what was going on with Ghomeshi. It it is individual behaviour that may have let victims down and allowed Ghomeshi to behave as he has done. Of course you can claim that it is an institutional failure. And this isn’t wrong since large conglomerates have great difficult in dealing with conflict within it’s structure. If you want to get rid of the CBC why isn’t it included in a list along with the Catholic Church, Minor Hockey, and College Football all havens for behaviour far worse than anything found at the CBC. Strange that there are no calls to end churches, hockey or football programs. It’s vulgar, exploitive and hypocritical that the Ghomeshi’s behaviour and his victims is being used for political ends.

    • davie says:

      …sort of like using the grubby murders of two soldiers for political ends…

      (Yeah, I know, a tad off topic…it is what is riling me these days…)

  12. e.a.f. says:

    saw huffington Post this morning on my computer and there is the pic. of some attractive young thing, with the head line, “I can’t keep quiet about what Jian did to me”… or words to that effect. All it says to me is, I’ve got a new career as victim and my picture in the paper.

    Lets not go and dump on the CBC. One guy or even a group of guys. Lets look at the rest of the media industry and their track record. For that matter, lets look at other industries and corps and their track records. Betcha they ain’t any better. I’m not saying what Jian G did, if he did is O.K. or if the CBC knew and didn’t do anything is O.K. but right now, this is still Canada, innocent until proven guilty, and all that good stuff.

    Try to remember there are over 300 former and current members of the RCMP who filed a class action sexual harassment/harassment law suit against the RCMP. What has happened there? Great big yawn. Haven’t heard squat from the cons. RCMP just mumbles, etc. Its blame the woman, who used to be the spokesperson who was one of the first to file, etc. The guys accused, well they still go along with the RCMP. even see on in his uniform on t.v. from time to time.

    So if its O.K. for the RCMP to have over 300 people accuse the organization of all sorts of nasty stuff and the alleged perpetraters of the activities are still employed, then lets leave the CBC and Jian G alone also.

  13. Lance says:


    During a dinner celebrating a celebrity Ghomeshi, coincidentally, drew name-card seating arrangements with Kevin Donovan who was investigating these allegations. During dinner, Kevin Donovan noted –

    Ghomeshi had not touched his plate. He toyed with his cutlery, checking his phone frequently. “People in this city need to understand that I have a long memory. You need to understand that and be very, very careful.”


    • Lance says:

      And then THIS podcast, posted November 2, 2014


      Its about as devastating as it gets. But then again, maybe not yet. Wow.

    • Just Askin' says:

      This is what sexual predators do. This is why women don’t come forward, by and large. I am glad that Ghomeshi’s ridiculous behavior has emboldened women he attacked to come forward. I hope that other women who have been abused by other similar folks do the same. I suspect there are more than a few “power players” having trouble sleeping these days.

  14. JT says:

    Hey, did anyone force themselves to watch ezra tonight on sun news? He had some vintage committee footage of CBC execs answering some questions about sexual harassment Mildly interesting but mostly BORING. To cap off this riveting show we’re told that Brian Lilly broke this story in 2013? Wow. Who knew? Have I been asleep for the past 2 years? It seems I missed something.

    When I watch Ezra, he reminds me of a cross between a Devo character and a Monty Python caricature… mouth flapping and lots of nonsense flying out.

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