Actress Lucy DeCoutere is the first woman to attach her name to allegations of violence at the hands of former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi in interviews with the Toronto Star and the CBC.
- LISTEN | The Current: 'From smooching to smacking ... there was no build up' - Actor Lucy DeCoutere's full interview
DeCoutere, who plays Lucy on the TV comedy Trailer Park Boys, told CBC's The Current that Ghomeshi physically attacked her during a date in 2003.
DeCoutere's allegations come after a string of similar accusations from women who did not want to be named that have appeared in recent days on the CBC and in the Toronto Star.
DeCoutere met Ghomeshi at a Banff, Alta., television festival and maintained a playful correspondence with him after that.
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On one occasion in 2003, she visited him in Toronto and the pair went to dinner and later to Ghomeshi's house. They started kissing consensually, but, she said, Ghomeshi soon became violent.
"He did take me by the throat and press me against the wall and choke me," DeCoutere said. "And he did slap me across the face a couple of times."
She doesn't recall telling him to stop but said her facial expression turned very serious and Ghomeshi was no longer violent after that. She left within an hour and saw Ghomeshi two more times that weekend, but they did not discuss the incident, and no further violent incidents occurred.
She said she had no physical marks on her body from the attack and did not seek medical attention or report it to the police, partially because she felt there were too many holes in her story.
On Thursday, another woman made allegations against Ghomeshi. Reva Seth detailed her claims against Ghomeshi in an article on the Huffington Post.
Carleton University also issued a statement saying it was "aware of allegations about former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi that may involve a Carleton journalism student or graduate." The university said it is reviewing its records about field placements that students did at CBC Toronto and whether there were any at Q.
In a new Facebook post Thursday morning, Ghomeshi responded: "I want to thank you for your support and assure you that I intend to meet these allegations directly. I don’t intend to discuss this matter any further with the media."
Ghomeshi's lawyer, Neil Rabinovitch, earlier told The Current that neither he nor Ghomeshi would be commenting on the allegations DeCoutere made to The Current because the case is before the courts.
Mark Pugash, director of communications with Toronto police, said Thursday that "no one has come forward with any allegations, so there is no investigation."
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said later Thursday that for an investigation to proceed "we need someone to come forward and say 'This is what's happened to me.' And we will investigate that, and we will do that as quickly and compassionately as we possibly can."
The police chief encouraged anyone who has ever been a victim of sexual assault to come forward, which would give police the opportunity to investigate, along with a chance to connect complainants with support services.
Heather Conway, CBC’s executive vice-president of English services, said in a note to staff Thursday that CBC is "in the process of selecting a third-party company who will conduct a rigorous, independent investigation beyond what’s already been done." The CBC was also making on-site and telephone counselling available to employees, the statement said.
Ghomeshi launched a $55 million lawsuit against the public broadcaster on Monday after the CBC ended its relationship with the former Q host a day earlier.
In an earlier Facebook post over the weekend responding to his dismissal, Ghomeshi denied that he has instigated non-consensual violent sex with women and said he only participates in sexual practices that are "mutually agreed upon, consensual and exciting for both partners."
"In the coming days you will prospectively hear about how I engage in all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom. And the implication may be made that this happens non-consensually. And that will be a lie," he wrote.
Navigator, a public relations firm that worked with Ghomeshi, said in a statement Thursday that "the circumstances of our engagement have changed and we are no longer able to continue."
Rock-it Promotions, a Toronto-based PR agency that had also worked with Ghomeshi, said on Twitter Thursday that they "will no longer be representing" him.
Both organizations said no further comments would be issued on the matter.