Jian Ghomeshi is suing the CBC, his former employer of 13 years, for defamation, breach of confidence and punitive damages, after he was allegedly fired over concerns about “possible negative public perception” of his sex life, according to a $55-million lawsuit filed at 4 p.m. Monday.
Ghomeshi, 47, was fired Sunday after the public broadcaster said it recently received information it says “precludes” it from continuing to employ the host of the popular Q radio show.
The statement of claim alleges the statement by the CBC was made in bad faith and is defamatory, creating “damaging speculation” about Ghomeshi.
“It implies or creates the innuendo that Mr. Ghomeshi’s termination was related to unacceptable conduct,” the statement of claim alleges. The statement also “confirmed that the basis of his termination was as a result of the confidential information that had been disclosed voluntarily and in good faith to the CBC by Mr. Ghomeshi.”
None of the allegations contained in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
Ghomeshi was terminated, not because the CBC “was concerned about whether Mr. Ghomeshi’s sex practises where consensual; rather, his employment was terminated because of the CBC’s concern about the possible negative public perception should the fact that Mr. Ghomeshi engaged in BDSM became public,” the lawsuit alleges, adding that the CBC has an “antiquated perspective.”
Similar to the Facebook post by Ghomeshi published Sunday, the lawsuit alleges that a former girlfriend of Ghomeshi’s shared a “fabricated” story with a reporter and others “which recast their relationship as one where she did not consent to the sexual activity in which they repeatedly engaged.”
The lawsuit alleges the relationship was consensual.
On Sunday night, the Toronto Star published allegations from three women who said they experienced violence from Ghomeshi without consent — including being struck in the face and choked — and with a former CBC employee, who complained of verbal and physical harassment in the workplace.
The lawsuit states that “the allegations Mr. Ghomeshi engaged in non-consensual sex and physically abused his partners are false.”
After learning of the allegations being made about him, Ghomeshi trusted the CBC with “confidential and sensitive information about his private life,” and an internal investigation found the allegations to be false, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges that the “confidential” information was “of a deeply personal nature and was shared with the CBC when Mr. Ghomeshi was concerned about avoiding the publication of false allegations against him and managing the response to those allegations if they became public.”
Terminating Ghomeshi based on that information is a breach of confidence, the statement of claim alleges.
“Mr. Ghomeshi would not have shared information about his private life with the CBC had he appreciated the CBC would ultimately use the information provided to it to terminate his employment.”
The lawsuit alleges that Ghomeshi and his lawyer were repeatedly told by the CBC that they were satisfied there was no basis to the allegations.
At the request of the CBC, Ghomeshi shared “certain materials exchanged between himself and the woman believed to be behind the allegations, to demonstrate conclusively that the relationship they had was a purely consensual one and there was no basis for the allegations,” the lawsuit alleges.
The CBC did not tell Ghomeshi they were continuing to investigate him or that the information disclosed would be used as a basis for termination,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit is seeking $25 million in damages for breach of confidence, $25 million in damages for defamation and $5 million in punitive damages.
- With files from Kevin Donovan