2014 Villain: CBC Brass
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2014 Villain: CBC Brass

Nominated for: mishandling the allegations of abuse against Jian Ghomeshi.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 5 p.m. on December 30. At noon on December 31, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

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We don’t need to wait for the conclusions of the independent investigation being conducted by lawyer Janice Rubin to know that the CBC has erred in how it dealt with the uncovering of all the skeletons in Jian Ghomeshi’s closet; the writing is all over its underfunded and rapidly eroding walls. As more and more women come forward with allegations of physical abuse suffered at Ghomeshi’s hands, it’s impossible not to think about how much sooner Ghomeshi could have been terminated as host of Q and properly investigated by police if only the network had been willing to entertain the notion that where there’s smoke, there’s often fire.

When Q producer Kathryn Borel approached her superiors all the way back in 2010 alleging that Ghomeshi had told her he wanted to “hatefuck” her and had inappropriately groped her, she claims executive producer Arif Noorani responded by saying “Ghomeshi was the way he was, and that [she] had to figure out how to cope with that.”

Even after Chris Boyce, executive director of radio, was made aware during an emergency meeting this past Canada Day weekend of an ongoing probe being conducted by Jesse Brown and the Toronto Star into multiple allegations of abuse, he chose to take Ghomeshi at his word when the radio host claimed he had done nothing illegal or unethical—in spite of evidence suggesting otherwise. Boyce maintained on a recent episode of The Fifth Estate that he had conducted a survey of Q employees in July and that it had yielded nothing out of the ordinary—one of the people he suggested had been responsible for the survey has since denied that one was even done. Though it’s impossible at this time to know just how far up the chain of command whispers of Ghomeshi’s misconduct echoed, what’s increasingly apparent is that those in power at the public broadcaster seemingly prioritized the profitability of its star host over the safety of its employees.


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