TORONTO – The CBC says it has become “aware of a specific claim of impropriety towards one” of its employees and is conducting a “continuing investigation.”
In a memo issued to staff Tuesday afternoon, the public broadcaster said it was made aware of the claim “through a story in the Toronto Star.”
The name of the employee is not in the memo, which came in the wake of a Star story about “Q” radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
The Star reported that it approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three women who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the run-up to such encounters and that Ghomeshi — though his lawyer — responded that he “does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.”
The Star reported none of the women filed police complaints and that their reasons given for not coming forward publicly included the fear they would be sued or face Internet retaliation.
The Star also reported that a fourth woman who worked at the CBC alleged that Ghomeshi “approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio” and made a sexually obscene comment to her during a story meeting. The Star reported that Ghomeshi told the newspaper that he did not understand why it was continuing to pursue allegations when “my lawyers have already told you it is untrue.”
“As part of our continuing investigation, we will take into account any new information that becomes available to us, either directly or indirectly,” said the CBC memo.
“When we identify behaviours or activities that are inconsistent with our established policies, we have a responsibility to take appropriate action, and we do.”
The Canadian Media Guild said they have “no record of anyone filing a formal complaint related to this issue at any time.”
The CBC memo (which doesn’t name Ghomeshi or contain specifics on the claim) continued: “We have always encouraged our employees to come forward with any concerns about their working environment — whether through their direct supervisor, union or human resources representative. We are here to support you. That has been and will remain the case.”
“You will be reading and hearing a lot of different things, both in mainstream media and social media, over the coming days, weeks and months. You should be aware that we will generally be unable to respond or react to these, or even to correct factual inaccuracies, due to pending legal action.”
The CBC announced Sunday that it was parting ways with Ghomeshi because of “information” it had received about him. Shortly afterwards, his lawyers announced they were suing the CBC. That development was followed by a long Facebook post from Ghomeshi in which he alleged that he had been fired from the public broadcaster for his “sexual behaviour.”