Apology by Kristin Raworth
Kristin Raworth is a woman who works for the Alberta government and who used to follow me on Twitter. About two years ago, Raworth publicly tweeted at me that she had been sexually harassed by Kent Hehr, a Liberal member of the federal cabinet who represented a Calgary riding.
I quickly got in touch with Raworth privately, and cautioned her that she was making a serious allegation and that she needed proof. She insisted that she had proof, and would keep tweeting.
As expected, the news media took notice. After she went public, Raworth claimed that she was starting to receive “hundreds” of threats and attacks. She insisted that she was afraid and had PTSD.
I supported her; I believed her. I defended her on the radio, in newspaper columns, in social media, and on this website. I even worked to find her legal representation, pro bono.
There was an investigation into her allegations. Hehr stepped aside from the cabinet while the investigation was underway, but remained a member of the Liberal caucus.
Its results were not made public. Hehr apologized, however, and was later defeated in the 2019 election. Raworth went on to become a micro-celebrity, and commenced advertising herself as a #MeToo survivor.
I did not know her personally. I only met Raworth once, when she came to hear me speak at the University of Alberta’s faculty of law. She said she was a fan.
Raworth would also regularly message me privately, asking me to retweet statements that she had written on Twitter. I’d usually do so.
Last year, around Christmas, Raworth abruptly soured on me. She became very critical online. People choose sides in divorces, and Raworth didn’t choose mine. That’s fine. I wrote to her and said I was sad she felt the way she did, but I wished her the best. I ignored her after that.
Until the last night of March, that is. On that night, some of my readers sent me a screencap of a post Raworth had put on Twitter and addressed to national radio broadcaster Charles Adler and the entire #cdnpoli hashtag.
She told Adler I shouldn’t be allowed on his show because I “abuse” women, plural, and I had “hit my wife.” Those are quotes.
I was astonished; I was literally winded. I felt sick to my stomach that she – or anyone – could willfully publish such a despicable lie about me.
I went online to see if the tweet was still there. There were lots and lots of tweets; I couldn’t see it. I didn’t sleep much that night.
The next morning, I hired a lawyer and sent Kristin Raworth a libel notice. After a month, that has finally resulted in the apology you see above; the payment of my legal fees; and a substantial donation, at my insistence, to Equal Voice.
At the end of this sickening episode, I’ve only got three things to say. One, anyone who falsely alleges that I hit or abuse women, ever, is also going to get sued. And they are going to pay a steep price, as Kristin Raworth did.
Two, I wish I had never, ever supported Kristin Raworth.
Three, to Kent Hehr, wherever you are: I now wonder whether you deserved better.
I wonder that a lot.