CBC management did not contact any of Q’s 16 employees during an internal investigation into allegations Jian Ghomeshi assaulted women, perhaps in the workplace, the CBC’s The Fifth Estate reports.
In “The Unmaking of Jian Ghomeshi,” airing Friday evening, The Fifth Estate spoke with Q producers and CBC management about their investigation before Ghomeshi’s firing on Oct. 26.
In a script the CBC investigative program provided to the Toronto Star, two Q producers say CBC management knew about allegations of assault against Ghomeshi back in June.
Q producer Brian Coulton and now-former Q producer Sean Foley said they received an email from journalist Jesse Brown in June about a story the Star was working on. Brown said “a series of women” made allegations about Ghomeshi’s non-consensual and inappropriate behaviour that “may have crossed over into the workplace.”
“So given the red flag, what did CBC managers do?” asked The Fifth Estate.
An emergency meeting was held at CBC headquarters over Canada Day weekend. CBC managers told The Fifth Estate they looked into Ghomeshi’s human resources file and found nothing, questioned him — he claimed he was being unfairly tarnished — and launched an investigation, talking to everyone from top bosses to staff at Q.
“We spoke to a number of people in a variety of positions in the organization and all of them said they had never been subject to harassment from Mr. Ghomeshi,” Chris Boyce, head of CBC radio, told The Fifth Estate. “They said, they had never seen any other improper behaviour in the workplace by Mr. Ghomeshi and they said … they had never even heard of any other inappropriate behaviour in the workplace on the part of Mr. Ghomeshi.”
But The Fifth Estate surveyed 17 employees who worked at Q last summer, including the executive producer, who did not respond to the survey.
“The response was shocking,” said The Fifth Estate. “No one said they’d been approached.”
The investigative program presented Boyce with their findings, telling him every employee said they were never contacted.
“And I’m going to leave that to Janice Rubin to look into as part of her independent investigation,” Boyce said.
Coulton and Foley also told The Fifth Estate they provided Boyce with tweets from a Twitter account with the handle @bigearsteddy that referenced bruising and punching. Boyce said he didn’t recall if he passed on the tweets to CBC Vice President Heather Conway, who previously said she’d never heard of allegations of punching.
Ghomeshi was charged Wednesday with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance — choking. He is free on $100,000 bail. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty.