Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q, no longer with CBC
Radio host abruptly went off air last week
CBC's relationship with Jian Ghomeshi, host of the cultural affairs radio show Q, has ended, the network announced Sunday.
"The CBC is saddened to announce its relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end. This decision was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration. Jian has made an immense contribution to the CBC and we wish him well," the network said in a statement.
CBC ended its relationship with Ghomeshi earlier on Sunday, said spokesman Chuck Thompson.
Late Sunday afternoon, Ghomeshi posted a lengthy message on his Facebook page in which he claimed that he was terminated by the broadcaster because of the risk of his "private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer."
The Toronto Star published a story on the topic.
In the Facebook post, Ghomeshi details a relationship with a former girlfriend that apparently included "forms of BDSM," saying that he ended the relationship at the beginning of this year.
“After this, in the early spring there began a campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me that would lead to months of anxiety.”
Ghomeshi said he has “always been interested in a wide variety of activities in the bedroom” but only those that are “mutually agreed upon” and “consensual.”
Ghomeshi said he was open with CBC about the matter because he wanted his bosses to be aware of the situation, but has "never believed it was anyone's business" what he does in his private affairs.
"CBC has been part of the team of friends and lawyers assembled to deal with this for months," he wrote. "On Thursday I voluntarily showed evidence that everything I have done has been consensual. I did this in good faith and because I know, as I have always known, that I have nothing to hide. This when the CBC decided to fire me."
Ghomeshi added that CBC executives told him "that this type of sexual behaviour was unbecoming of a prominent host on the CBC."
He also writes in the post that the CBC received no formal complaints or allegations.
Ghomeshi was set to host the Giller Prize awards ceremony on Nov. 10, but the organization tweeted Sunday that he would no longer be fulfilling that role. On Monday, it was announced that comedian Rick Mercer, whose show airs on CBC-TV, would be hosting the gala ceremony for the $100,000 prize.
Ghomeshi suing CBC
Earlier on Sunday, Dentons Canada LLP, a law firm in Toronto, released a statement saying that Ghomeshi has instructed them to file a $50-million lawsuit against the CBC on Monday that "will claim general and punitive damages for among other things, breach of confidence and bad faith."
It added that he will also "commence a grievance for reinstatement under the CBC’s collective agreement."
A lawsuit was filed in Toronto on Monday seeking $25 million in damages for breach of confidence, $25 million for defamation and $5 million for punitive damages, as well as “special damages” that are not specified in the statement of claim, which has not been proven in court.
Thompson said over the weekend the pending lawsuit precluded the CBC from addressing Ghomeshi’s allegations.
“Given the pending lawsuit from Jian Ghomeshi against the CBC, we are not in a position to comment on his Facebook post,” Thompson said.
But Sunday before Ghomeshi's post on Facebook, Thompson said the broadcaster ended its relationship with Ghomeshi after "information came to our attention recently that in CBC's judgment precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian.”
Thompson would not elaborate on how recently the CBC had discovered the information or what that information was.
"Whenever a decision is made to end a relationship with an employee, terms of separation are never disclosed," Thompson said.
On Friday last week, Ghomeshi announced that he was taking some "much needed personal time" away from the CBC.
"Thanks for all the well wishes, you guys," he tweeted. "I'm OK."
Monday's Q started with a sigh
Q — which Ghomeshi co-created — is a daily national talk show on CBC Radio One and CBC-TV featuring interviews with celebrities and prominent international figures.
On Monday, guest host, Brent Bambury, kicked off the day's broadcast with an opening essay and a heavy sigh.
- LISTEN | Brent Bambury's opening essay on Q
"I know for the many of you who love and look forward to this show, this is a very hard day,” Bambury said.
He reminded listeners that there are "dozens of people who work hard" behind the scenes at the radio program, and that they are "committed" and "determined" to "move forward."
The cultural affairs program, which launched in 2007, is now broadcast on over 180 NPR/PRI stations and syndicated in the U.S.
The Toronto-based Ghomeshi, 47, is also a published author, with the 2012 memoir 1982 and articles in various papers. He also hosted the CBC-TV program Play.
Ghomeshi, who was born in London, England and is of Iranian descent, first achieved fame as a musician with the folk-rock group Moxy Fruvous. Through Jian Ghomeshi Productions, he manages Juno-winning alt-pop musician Lights.
Ghomeshi has won several awards for his broadcasting and was named Best Media Personality in TV or radio by NOW Magazine in 2013.
With files from The Canadian Press