Heather Conway : CBC exec breaks silence on Ghomeshi scandal
Heather Conway : CBC exec breaks silence on Ghomeshi scandal

Heather Conway : CBC exec breaks silence on Ghomeshi scandal

The CBC’s Executive Vice-President is speaking out for the first time about the allegations that surfaced against the broadcaster’s former radio host, Jian Ghomeshi.

Heather Conway says she’s finally ready to talk about Ghomeshi. The CBC has, of course, been under pressure to discuss what it knew about the allegations and when they surfaced. spoke with the CBC’s Carol Off.

Conway tells As it Happens that Ghomeshi approached the CBC in April, informing them that the Toronto Star may publish a story that could contain “embarrassing information about his sex life because he engaged in rough sex.” He said the expose had be prompted by an ex-girlfriend with whom his relationship had ended badly.

Then in June, Conway says a staffer on “Q” was contacted by a freelance journalist who suggested that Ghomeshi’s alleged behaviour in his off-hours may have crossed into the workplace. That is when is when the CBC launched an internal probe of Ghomeshi.

Conway says their head of human resources found looked back a decade through Ghomeshi’s personnel file and turned up nothing. The HR boss and head of CBC Radio spoke with a “cross-section of Q employees.”

Conway says Ghomeshi’s colleagues were asked: “Have you witnessed any acts of sexual harassment, violence? Have you heard any complaints about it? Have you been told about complaints of sexual harassment or violence to a person.” According to Conway “they all said no.”

An ex “Q” producer has since alleged that in separate instances, Ghomeshi told her he wanted to “hate f***” her and cupped her rear. The allegation is now part of a third party investigation of the CBC. Since his firing, staffers have talked about a culture of fear at the program, characterizing Ghomeshi as unpredictable, self-absorbed tyrant.

Things changed for the CBC on Oct. 23. Conway says that is when the broadcasters’ head of public affairs and radio “saw evidence of him (Ghomeshi) having caused physical injury to a woman.” Conway says the evidence was presented by Ghomeshi in text messages, photos, and videos.

Conway was asked by As it Happens host Carol Off and CBC News’ Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge why the broadcaster did not call police after having viewed the evidence.

She offers that the media was from over the course of a year-long relationship characterized by Ghomeshi and his lawyers as proof of consent.

“Our threshold at the CBC is not one of legal consent,” Conway tells Off. “My expectations of the behaviour at the CBC and the people who represent it is much higher than the low bar of legal consent.”

Jian Ghomeshi is suing his former employer for $55 million, citing defamation, breach of confidence and bad faith. The CBC is moving to have the suit dismissed, calling it without merit and an abuse of the process. The broadcaster also contends that since Ghomeshi is a unionized employee, he cannot sue and that any dispute must be settled through arbitration.


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    1. Matt The Golem

      Looks like the CBC is in a full-on campaign to pretend management and HR didn’t know about Ghomeshi’s abuses and harassment of female staff. I don’t believe it for a second.

    2. Off also asked Conway about a workplace-culture document produced by Q staff two years ago, detailing a “toxic” environment at the show under Ghomeshi’s controlling leadership. Conway said she saw it for the first time on Thursday.

    3. Its a witch hunt, get the faggotts.

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