The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has released an internal investigation into the behavior of celebrity radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who was fired in October 2014 and faces eight sexual assault-related criminal charges. At least one of those charges involves a CBC employee, and the October 2014 Toronto Star story about Ghomeshi that seems to have initiated the police investigation of him included an allegation of physical sexual harassment in the workplace. The CBC’s new report, conducted by a Toronto employment lawyer, says that Ghomeshi’s workplace behavior was frequently inappropriate. Among the findings:
- He made “comments about the personal appearance of some employees” that were “demeaning.”
- He “gave a number of colleagues back and shoulder rubs” that several people described as “sexual” and others as “creepy.”
- He “solicited women in the workplace for dates.”
- He “shared details about his own sex life” that “witnesses found too personal, too graphic and generally unsavoury.”
The report, compiled from voluntary interviews with CBC employees, also documents disrespectful and abusive behavior by Ghomeshi that was not sexual in nature. Much of the report addresses management’s complicity in Ghomeshi’s actions, asserting that a widespread company belief that “people who occupy the role of an on air host inevitably have big personalities, big egos, and big demands” created an atmosphere in which Ghomeshi’s transgressions went unchallenged. Shortly before the report’s release, the CBC said it has “severed ties” with its executive director of radio and audio and its executive director of human resources and industrial relations.
Slate’s Carl Wilson wrote about observers’ complicity in Ghomeshi’s alleged crimes in November 2014, stating from personal experience that the host had an unsavory reputation in Toronto well before his alleged misconduct became headline news. “You used to work as an editor at a Toronto newspaper,” Wilson wrote, chastising himself. “You could have urged someone to look into it. It just didn’t seem clear enough. So you took it too lightly.”