TORONTO—A veteran journalist with Ontario’s public broadcaster has fired back and denied a sexual harassment allegation made by a Toronto woman, calling the claim “complete fiction.”
Steve Paikin, host of TVOntario’s flagship current events program “The Agenda,” broke his silence Feb. 6 with an extensive statement on Facebook, where he said he was “gobsmacked” by the allegation outlined to him in an email from his accuser over the weekend.
“Even though I knew the allegations were 100 percent false, I did what I suspected was the appropriate thing to do and immediately passed the email on to my superiors at TVO,” Paikin wrote. “I knew the charges were bogus, but I knew I owed it to my employer to be totally transparent about all of it.”
His comments come after TVO announced Feb. 5 that an independent third party will investigate the allegations, during which time Paikin will continue to host “The Agenda.”
Paikin and TVO have said the claims were mounted by former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, whom Paikin said he has known professionally for more than a decade.
In a post on her website Women’s Post, Thomson wrote that a political talk show host, whom she did not identify, “asked me if I would sleep with him” after attending a lunch at a Toronto restaurant in 2010. She said her assistant was present for the meeting.
She said she “politely” declined his offer, then went to the washroom and called her campaign manager, who advised her to leave, which she said she did.
Before Paikin released his Facebook statement, Thomson tweeted Feb. 6, “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.”
Paikin said TVO did the right thing to call in the investigator, adding he has no doubt that a thorough analysis of the allegations will point to the truth.
From The Canadian Press