Toronto police investigating Jian Ghomeshi allegations
Lucy DeCouture and 2nd woman file police complaints, former Q host denies wrongdoing
Toronto police have opened a criminal investigation into Jian Ghomeshi after two women filed police complaints against the former CBC radio host.
CBC has confirmed that one of the women is Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere, who told CBC News earlier this week that Ghomeshi attacked her on a date in 2003.
The other is also a woman CBC News has interviewed but who wants to remain anonymous.
"Both women say they couldn't remain silent any longer and say they hope more alleged victims will come forward," CBC's Ioanna Roumeliotis reported.
None of the allegations have been proven.
CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said Friday that the CBC does not comment on police investigations.
Ghomeshi, former host of the cultural affairs show Q, was fired last Sunday. The broadcaster initially provided little comment at the time, saying in a statement that CBC was "saddened" to announce its relationship with the Q host had come to an end.
In the days since, several women have made detailed allegations of violence at Ghomeshi's hands to the Toronto Star, CBC and the Huffington Post—including claims that Ghomeshi choked or punched them without their consent.
Memo to staff mentions 'graphic evidence' of physical injury
Earlier Friday, Heather Conway, vice-president of English Services, sent a memo to staff outlining CBC executives' version of events leading to Ghomeshi's dismissal, saying the week had been "extraordinarily difficult for all of us." (Read the full memo below.)
"When directly confronted, Jian firmly denied there was any truth to those allegations," the memo says.
The memo goes on to say that in the summer, a Q employee got a letter from a reporter "asking about Jian's behaviour and suggesting that his behaviour may have 'crossed over' into the workplace," which sparked CBC to conduct an investigation.
"That investigation determined that there were no complaints of this nature about Jian's behaviour in the workplace," the memo says.
At no time prior to last week was CBC aware that Jian had engaged in any activities which resulted in the physical injury of another person.- CBC memo to staff
At that time, the CBC was "again assured by Jian" that the allegations were not true. "At that time, the Toronto Star did not move ahead with the story and, based on Jian's denial, we continued to believe Jian."
The memo said the situation changed last week when the CBC saw "for the first time, graphic evidence that Jian had caused physical injury to a woman."
"At no time prior to last week was CBC aware that Jian had engaged in any activities which resulted in the physical injury of another person."
Ghomeshi intends to meet allegations 'directly'
Ghomeshi's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Ghomeshi posted a detailed note on Facebook last weekend responding to his firing and denying any involvement in non-consensual violent sexual acts. Ghomeshi described his sexual preferences in his statement and said he has only participated in acts that were "mutually agreed upon, consensual and exciting for both partners."
On Thursday, he issued a new statement, saying "'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 has launched a $55-million lawsuit against the CBC and is also grieving his dismissal through the union process.
CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix also issued a public statement Friday titled "Note to Canadians." In it, he said the allegations that have surfaced in the past week have left him "in shock, sadness and some anger."
Lacroix's statement cited Ghomeshi's legal action, saying the lawsuit "limits what we have been able to say about the circumstances of his firing, but we will defend our action."
He reiterated that an outside company with "specific expertise to conduct an independent investigation" will be brought in. No time frame for the outside investigation is provided in either memo, but Lacroix said "once the investigation has concluded, we will share the recommendations regarding any improvements to our policies and procedures with our Board, our employees and with Canadians."
Ghomeshi, 47, was a prominent figure who often represented the CBC in his capacity as host of Q, the network's flagship cultural program.
Ghomeshi released a memoir in 2012 but on Friday his publisher announced it would not be publishing his next book. The announcement from Penguin comes after two public relations agencies said they would no longer be representing him.
Others, including the recording artist Lights who was managed by Ghomeshi, have also distanced themselves from the former radio host in recent days as more allegations were revealed.