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Steve Paiken

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
TVO launches probe into allegations against host Steve Paikin

TVO is launching an independent third-party investigation of an allegation of sexual harassment made against well-known broadcaster Steve Paikin, host of the Ontario public-TV channel's current affairs show The Agenda.

The allegation was made by Sarah Thomson, an outspoken former candidate for mayor of Toronto. But the channel said, based on the evidence it has so far, Mr. Paikin will remain on the air pending the results of the probe.

The taxpayer-funded station's chief executive officer, Lisa de Wilde, issued a statement on Monday disclosing that Ms. Thomson, after detailing the alleged incident in articles on her website without using Mr. Paikin's name, had sent him an e-mail over the weekend. Mr. Paikin immediately notified TVO of the e-mail, the statement says.

According to the account of the 2010 incident that Ms. Thomson published on her website, while at a lunch at the Grano restaurant, where Mr. Paikin is a regular, the TVO host allegedly asked if she would have sex with him to appear on The Agenda. Ms. Thomson says her assistant, whom she did not name, was also present at the lunch.

"TVO does not tolerate sexual harassment. We believe it is important that allegations be fully heard and investigated," Ms. de Wilde's statement reads. "However, based on the evidence to date, TVO sees no reason to remove Mr. Paikin from his role as Host for The Agenda pending the outcome of the investigation."

TVO says that during the investigation, stories related to "this subject matter" would be handled by other TVO journalists. Mr. Paikin has been covering the chaos in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario that erupted after leader Patrick Brown was forced to step down amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

A source close to TVO says the channel has received no other such complaints about Mr. Paikin, who has hosted current affairs programs at TVO since the early 1990s.

Ms. Thomson ran for mayor in 2010 but announced she was dropping out of the race in September of that year, too late to have her name removed from the ballot. She finished well behind the frontrunners with just 1,883 votes in the election, which was won by the controversial Rob Ford. During his mayoralty, she alleged that an inebriated Mr. Ford grabbed her buttocks and made a sexual comment to her at a 2013 gala.

On her website, Womenspost.ca, she alleged in an article dated Feb. 2 2018 that during a lunch with an unnamed TV host, during the 2010 campaign, she asked him how she could get on his show again: "Not five minutes in to the lunch, the host asked me if I would sleep with him."

She says she left the table and phoned her campaign manager. She also alleges the TV host has approached her at other events since, and repeated his remark with laughter. In her article, she asks other women with similar experiences to contact her, and urges the unnamed host to step down: "And I warn him: we are coming. We aren't rushing, but we are slowly gathering our facts and we won't let up. Do the right thing, and step down from your job."
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
Don’t know anything about this a accusation but I was surprised to learn that Paikin make north of 300K for his publicly funded talk show.

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
Paikin, the host of the current affairs show The Agenda, will stay on the air while the third-party investigation is conducted. The allegations against Paikin were raised by former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, who alleged that Paikin, at a lunch in 2010, asked if she would have sex with him in exchange for appearing on his show. Thomson alleged that Paikin repeated the remark with laughter at other events. In a statement, the Ontario public broadcaster said that it "does not tolerate sexual harassment" but "based on the evidence to date, TVO sees no reason to remove Mr. Paikin from his role as host for The Agenda pending the outcome of the investigation."

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
Sarah Thomson says she ‘joked’ about sleeping with Conrad Black
A situation between Sarah Thomson and former media baron Conrad Black was mentioned in a recent opinion piece by his wife, Barbara Amiel.

By CARYS MILLSStaff Reporter
Tues., March 26, 2013

At a party more than a decade ago, where Conrad Black got a lot of attention, Sarah Thomson said she joked about sleeping with him in exchange for an interview.

“There were a whole lot of women ogling him at the party so I asked him if I would have to sleep with him to get an interview,” said Thomson, publisher of the Women’s Post. “That was it. It was a joke, it was a party, there was nothing to it.”

A situation between Thomson and former media baron Black was mentioned in a recent opinion piece by his wife, Maclean’s contributing editor and columnist Barbara Amiel. Her controversial take on “an anything-goes sexual society” references the Steubenville rape case, a former Conservative strategist’s comments about child pornography and Thomson’s recent allegation that Mayor Rob Ford groped her, which he denies.

“Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to ‘bed’ my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper,” Amiel wrote.

“Though the proposition did not intrigue him, Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election. The same action that is generally welcome from a person you like is sexual harassment from one you don’t.”

Thomson said she’d only made a joke reminiscent of Amiel’s description, and it would have been around 1998 when Black launched the National Post. She was running a newspaper called the Hamilton Examiner when she met him at a party.

In 2002, Thomson said she was busy with getting married and moving into a new house, so she didn’t think the party happened that year, as Amiel said. Later, in 2007, Black was convicted in a U.S. court of fraud and obstruction of justice, for which he served 42 months in prison.

Thomson said she wasn’t upset by Amiel’s comments. “I don’t think it’s a big issue at all,” she said. “It was just something funny that happened a long time ago.”

Black endorsed Thomson when she unsuccessfully ran for mayor in the 2010 election. They have remained friendly, sometimes exchanging emails, she said.

It’s unclear if Amiel thought Thomson made a serious proposal. She and Maclean’s did not return requests for comment.

Thomson said she was also unsure of Amiel’s interpretation. “I have no idea,” Thomson said. “You’d have to ask her.”

Sarah Thomson says she ‘joked’ about sleeping with Conrad Black | Toronto Star
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Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
Steve Paikin denies sexual harassment allegation made by Sarah Thomson
“To say I was gobsmacked by the allegations in her email is the understatement of my life,” Paikin wrote in an extensive statement on Facebook.

Steve Paikin, the host of TVO's flagship current affairs program The Agenda. Paikin has denied an allegation made by former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson that he asked her to sleep with him during the 2010 mayoral campaign. (MATTHEW PLEXMAN / TVONTARIO)
Tues., Feb. 6, 2018

TVO host Steve Paikin fired back Tuesday and denied an allegation made by Sarah Thomson that he asked her to sleep with him during her 2010 mayoral campaign.

“To say I was gobsmacked by the allegations in her email is the understatement of my life,” Paikin wrote in an extensive statement on Facebook, referring to an email Thomson sent to him on Saturday, outlining her allegation.

“I mean no harm to Sarah Thomson. But Sarah, you and I both know the incidentyou described never happened. It’s complete fiction. To be clear, I did not have sex, suggest, request, imply, or joke about having sex with you.”

Thomson wrote on her website Friday that during the 2010 mayoral campaign she and her executive assistant had lunch with the host of a political talk show to discuss another appearance. She had been on the show previously along with four other mayoral candidates on Sept. 7, 2010.

Thomson did not identify the host by name, but TVO confirmed she is referring to Paikin and TVO’s flagship program The Agenda.

Five people who worked or volunteered on her campaign, including Mayor John Tory’s sons George Tory and John Tory Jr., say they have no knowledge of such an incident occurring.

“Not five minutes into the lunch, the host asked me if I would sleep with him,” Thomson wrote on Women’s Post, the website she publishes. “My assistant almost spit his drink all over the table.”

Thomson said she “politely” declined Paikin’s alleged offer, then went to the washroom and called her campaign manager, who advised her to leave, which she did.

Thomson said in her email to Paikin, obtained by the Star, that her executive assistant went back to their office after lunch and told the “entire campaign team… you weren’t interested in discussing the show but instead wanted to sleep with me.”

Ryan Kelly told the Star Tuesday he worked as an assistant for Thomson during her 2010 campaign.

George Tory, who along with Kinga Surma, was one of Thomson’s co-campaign managers beginning August 2010, said in an email Tuesday that Kelly was Thomson’s executive assistant and that he “can’t think of any other executive assistants.” Surma has not responded to requests for comment.

Kelly said he has no knowledge of Thomson meeting with Paikin.

“I do not believe I am the witness Thomson is referring to her in her blog post discussing her interaction with Mr. Paikin. That is because at no time during my involvement with her campaign did I attend any meetings attended by Mr. Paikin,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he was also not aware of the allegations Thomson is now making against Paikin.

Thomson told the Star Tuesday night that Kelly “wasn’t part of the campaign.” She said she does “have somebody” who has given her a statement, but will not name the person until her “lawyer has decided what we are going to do.”

In his Facebook post, Paikin said Thomson’s allegation is “complete fiction” and “connected me to a story which I have no business being connected. Well that all ends today. Today, I begin to reclaim my reputation and fight back against these scurrilous allegations.”

Thomson declined to comment on Paikin’s statement. Before Paikin released his statement on Facebook, Thomson tweeted, “Women don’t come forward because they get attacked on social media. Did Paikin go public to scare other women from coming forward? Sad how easily he’s playing people.”

Hours later she tweeted, “It’s a bit scary the number of men that are bashing me today.”

Upon receiving the email from Thomson, Paikin said he passed it on to his superiors at TVO, even though “the allegations were 100 per cent false.”

On Sunday, Paikin said he spent two hours with TVO management and its lawyers “answering every imaginable question.”

A TVO official announced Monday that the station is launching an independent third-party investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation.

“There has never been a sexual harassment complaint against Steve Paikin at TVO,” said Sara Goldvine, TVO’s director of communications, in an email Tuesday. Paikin has worked at TVO for 25 years.

Paikin will continue to host The Agenda as “evidence to date” does not justify removing him pending the investigation outcome, said TVO CEO Lisa De Wilde in a statement.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Paikin said in his Facebook post. “(TVO) also did the right thing by calling in an independent third party to investigate this mess and I welcome the investigation. Bring it on!”

Paikin said the #MeToo movement is “too important to be undermined by spurious allegations. The only good thing about this has been receiving the huge number of emails and phone calls from people who believe me and are prepared to say so publically.”

He said after spending 35 years in journalism, “lies” have prompted “outrageous” headlines.

“Sadly, in this day and age, too many people are going to believe the lie, especially when it comes to this subject. I am mortified that in many peoples’ eyes, I have lost the presumption of innocence that I’ve previously enjoyed. But I did not do these things. There is simply no truth to these allegations.”

Paikin said he wrote his statement, independent from TVO and his lawyers, at 4 a.m. and that he’s had trouble sleeping since the allegation was made. He said he has known Thomson for almost a decade and seen her at various political events, but hasn’t had contact with her for several years.

“You’ve defamed me Sarah. I have no idea why, but you have. And I simply can’t allow that to stand. The quest to reclaim my reputation, which you’ve tried to destroy, begins now. I look forward to vindication.”

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
TVO announced that the 3rd party investigation has cleared Paiken, finding no evidence or corroborating stories to support the allegation he offered Sarah Thomson airtime for sex.