TORONTO — The CBC says the conclusions from a report into the handling of the Jian Ghomeshi scandal are “troubling and disappointing.”
A letter to employees signed by upper management says that outside investigator Janice Rubin spoke with 99 people during the past five months to prepare the report, which includes nine recommendations.
The report states a majority of the people interviewed described a “a pattern of behaviour and conduct” that fell below the CBC’s standards and was “deeply disrespectful to employees.”
The report recounts allegations of Ghomeshi typically yelling, belittling and humiliating other employees, playing pranks and cruel jokes, and in a “small number of cases,” sexually harassing others.
The letter to employees includes an apology to those “who experienced inappropriate behaviour” in the workplace, saying “it has no place at CBC/Radio-Canada.”
The CBC fired Ghomeshi, the host of its daily radio arts and culture show “Q,” in October after seeing what it called “graphic evidence” that he had caused physical injury to a woman.
The public broadcaster also announced Thursday that it is “severing ties” with two top executives, Chris Boyce, executive director of CBC Radio, and Todd Spencer, the head of human resources and industrial relations for English services.
The report states a number of colleagues reported receiving back and shoulder massages from Ghomeshi.
Related reading: Jian Ghomeshi: How he got away with it
“Most of the witnesses did not find these massages sexual (although several did) but instead described them as creepy and disrespectful of their personal boundaries,” according to the report.
Ghomeshi also allegedly spoke in the workplace about his sex life, which the report said made colleagues uncomfortable.
“There were incidents where Mr. Ghomeshi shared information that witnesses found too personal, too graphic and generally unsavoury,” the report states.
The report also contains allegations that managers who worked with Ghomeshi failed to investigate his behaviour or take steps to stop it.
“The evidence shows that while Mr. Ghomeshi’s star was allowed to rise, his problematic behaviour was left unchecked,” the report says.
The CBC says it will be working with the Canadian Media Guild to review the nine recommendations outlined in the report and “implement as many of those as we can, as quickly as possible.”
Related reading: The toxic environment that abetted Jian Ghomeshi
Rubin was tasked with reporting to senior CBC management about what she uncovered, as well as coming up with recommendations on resolving any complaints.
A request for Ghomeshi to be interviewed for the report was declined. In all, 17 people declined to be interviewed for the investigation. The report notes participation in interviews was “entirely voluntary” and investigators did not see it as their role to “aggressively cross-examine” anyone involved.
Before that report was ordered, Boyce and Spencer conducted interviews with “Q” employees as part of an internal investigation. The two were put on indefinite leave in January.
Ghomeshi faces seven counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking, but his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to all charges.
One of the complainants is a former CBC employee.
Ghomeshi is free on $100,000 bail with numerous conditions and is due to return to court on April 28.