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CBC issues memo to staff in wake of Ghomeshi dismissal

CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has sent a memo to employees saying the public broadcaster has learned of a "specific claim of impropriety" toward one its employees.

The note, sent to CBC staff by e-mail on Tuesday afternoon, makes reference to a "continuing investigation" and says it will take into account "any new information that becomes available to us, either directly or indirectly." It says the CBC learned of the claim via a recent Toronto Star story.

On Sunday, the CBC dismissed popular radio personality Jian Ghomeshi, who had hosted the cultural affairs program Q with Jian Ghomeshi, saying it had "recently" received information that "precludes" the broadcaster from continuing to employ him. Mr. Ghomeshi responded hours later in a statement posted to Facebook, claiming he was fired due to fears of a scandal if his "adventurous" sexual behaviour came to public attention. He detailed his interest in dominance and submission, role play and "rough sex."

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The e-mail, signed by vice-president of people and culture Roula Zaarour, reassures employees that when the CBC identifies behaviour that goes against its policies, "we have a responsibility to take appropriate action, and we do." It says the corporation has "always encouraged our employees to come forward with any concerns about their working environment.

"We are here to support you. That has been and will remain the case."

The Toronto Star reported late on Sunday that three women have made allegations of violent, non-consensual assaults by Mr. Ghomeshi, but noted that none had reported their claims to police. The Star also said a former employee of the CBC claimed to have been sexually harassed by Mr. Ghomeshi.

The CBC has faced questions about what its executives knew of Mr. Ghomeshi's conduct, and when, but spokespeople have declined to comment further, except to say the decision to dismiss Mr. Ghomeshi "was not made without serious deliberation and careful consideration."

Mr. Ghomeshi on Monday launched a lawsuit against his former employer, claiming $55-million for breach of confidence, damages for defamation and "punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages." In court documents filed on Monday, Mr. Ghomeshi alleges he shared details of his private life and sexual relationships with CBC executives over "several months," warning allegations against him might be made public.

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