CBC manager denies being asked to investigate complaints about Jian Ghomeshi
Linda Groen wants to 'set the record straight' on comment made by Chris Boyce on fifth estate
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's director of network talk radio is contradicting comments made by Chris Boyce, head of CBC Radio, saying that she was never asked to investigate complaints about Jian Ghomeshi's behaviour within the Q unit.
In an email to Boyce, Linda Groen said, "I have to set the record straight on one particular point" regarding comments Boyce made on CBC's the fifth estate last Friday.
“At no point did you or any senior manager ever instruct me to conduct such an investigation, formally or otherwise,” Groen wrote. “To the contrary, I was assured and confident that you and HR were handling the matter and asking the appropriate people the necessary questions.
"To characterize, post facto, my role as investigative, however loosely defined, is a misrepresentation of facts and surprising, not only to me, but also, judging by their response to the fifth estate 'survey,' to the entire Q team."
Groen said she would be sharing her email to Boyce with the Q team and with lawyer Janice Rubin, who has been hired by the public broadcaster to carry out an independent review of how the Ghomeshi allegations were handled.
"Like you, I wish for a full and truthful accounting," Groen wrote.
In an interview with the fifth estate, Boyce said that CBC conducted an internal investigation this summer into allegations of Ghomeshi's behaviour that involved a cross-section of people who had worked on Q — editorial, management level and producer.
In a survey conducted by the fifth estate, all of the known employees working at Q last summer, except Ghomeshi's executive producer Arif Noorani, said they were not contacted by CBC management with questions about Ghomeshi. Noorani, who has been reassigned since Ghomeshi's firing, did not respond to the survey.
Asked about the results of the survey, Boyce told the fifth estate's Gillian Findlay that he, CBC's head of human resources Todd Spencer and Groen had discussions with people about the allegations. Boyce added that he didn't want to get "into the specifics of who talked to who" and that it would be best to wait for the outcome of the independent review being carried out by Rubin.
Boyce had no comment about Groen's email.
Ex CBC producer goes public with allegations
News of this email came as a former CBC radio producer who worked on Q and who has said she was repeatedly harassed by Ghomeshi in the workplace went public with her allegations.
- Jian Ghomeshi harassed me on the job, ex-producer writes
- CBC's Heather Conway defends handling of Ghomeshi case
- Ghomeshi to plead not guilty to sex assault, choking
- WATCH | Full interview with CBC Radio boss Chris Boyce
"I went years without reporting the harassment because I feared for my job and my career …," Kathryn Borel wrote in an article published Tuesday by theguardian.com. "If I quit, where else was there to go?"
Many of her allegations have been reported previously by Canadian media, but this is the first time Borel's name has appeared with them.
“I blamed myself up until recently," Borel told CBC News in an interview. "I came out publicly talking about this and I had this fear that I wasn't right, that I wasn't trusting my experiences.”
She wrote that Ghomeshi said in 2007 he wanted to "hate f--k" her to stop her yawning in a meeting. He also grabbed her from behind once "and claimed he couldn't control himself because of my skirt."
"The maddening part is that his celebrity was a creation of the CBC — Canada's folksy, sweater-wearing public broadcaster and one of the most family friendly brands in the nation's history," Borel wrote.
Borel is critical of both the CBC and the Canadian Media Guild for their handling of her case. She said she went to the union in 2010 about Ghomeshi's behaviour.
The union has said Borel discussed Ghomeshi's behaviour and attitude, but did not make an allegation of sexual harassment. She never filed an official complaint.
Canadian Media Guild national president Carmel Smyth said in a statement that "the experience she describes is unacceptable."
"We admire her courage in speaking out and are sorry for the pain she has experienced. Since I and union staff became aware of this issue, we have reached out to her and have offered and continue to offer her any assistance that we can provide."
Ghomeshi, 47, surrendered to Toronto police Nov. 26. He was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one described by police as "overcome resistance — choking."
Borel is not among accusers linked to the charges.
After his first court appearance, Ghomeshi's lawyer said he intends to plead not guilty to all charges. None of the allegations against Ghomeshi have been tested in court.