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CBC memo: Evidence of 'physical injury to a woman' spurred Ghomeshi firing

Jian Ghomeshi

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation told employees Friday afternoon that it fired host Jian Ghomeshi as a result of seeing graphic evidence last week that he had caused "physical injury to a woman."

In a memo sent to staff, Heather Conway, the executive vice president of English services, said the CBC had never before been aware "that Jian had engaged in any activities which resulted in the physical injury of another person." While Mr. Ghomeshi had told CBC management earlier in the year that reporters were "looking into allegations by an ex-girlfriend that he had engaged in non-consensual 'rough sex,'" he had "firmly denied there was any truth to those allegations." Executives believed him.

That changed last week when, as reported by The Globe on Thursday, representatives for Mr. Ghomeshi presented CBC executives with texts, emails, and photos of the host's sexual encounters. Rather than exonerating him, as he had anticipated, the evidence startled managers.

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"After viewing this graphic evidence, we determined that Jian's conduct was a fundamental breach of CBC's standard of acceptable conduct for any employee. Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the Canadian public and contributes to a safe and healthy work environment that promotes engagement, openness and transparency," Ms. Conway explained.

"Jian's conduct in causing physical injury to a woman was inconsistent with the character of the public broadcaster, was fundamentally unacceptable for any employee, was likely to bring the reputation of his fellow employees and CBC into disrepute and could not be defended by CBC. As such, we took immediate steps to remove Jian from the workplace and terminated his employment on October 26."

In an unusual Note to Canadians posted online Friday evening, CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix said the broadcaster has policies in place "to try to create a safe work environment," but the case "raises concerns that our systems have not been enough, and that upsets us deeply."

Late Friday, Penguin Random House Canada, which had published Mr. Ghomeshi's memoir 1982, announced it was parting ways with the media personality. "In light of recent events, Penguin Canada has made the decision to not publish Jian Ghomeshi's next book," said spokesperson Tracey Turriff.

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Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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