“An independent third-party investigation commissioned by TVO to examine allegations by Sarah Thomson has been completed,” TVO chief executive officer Lisa De Wilde said in a written statement released today. “The investigator found that the allegations were not substantiated and Mr. Paikin did not violate TVO policies. As such, the investigation is now closed. TVO is proud of the work of Steve Paikin, who has been at the centre of TVO’s journalism for more than 25 years.”
Paikin, host of TV Ontario’s current events program The Agenda, addressed the issue in a Facebook post a few days later, saying the allegations were “bogus” but that he had alerted his employer.
MY TURNFebruary 6, 2018Okay, now it’s my turn. This is my response, written by me, not a committee of lawyers or…
Surprisingly, he continued to host the show during the investigation, which spanned 11 weeks and involved interviews with 21 witnesses.
“With the continued escalation of allegations across the country, we need to make sure everyone accused is afforded due process and that the innocent are protected. While criminal courts are generally good at enforcing important constitutional protections, other institutions, such as legislatures, employers, the media, and colleges often are not. This can ruin the reputation and lives of the falsely accused and at the same time take away credibility away from movements such as #metoo and #timesup.”
In our current circus atmosphere of media coverage, there is a question if due process still exists. Non-legal charges are broadcast against persons, often beyond a statute of limitations, with little, if any, discernible attempts to corroborate the charges before they are made public. Then rapidly these persons, usually male, are not only pronounced guilty by public opinion, but they are either quickly fired from their jobs or they resign into oblivion.
This was not the case of Steve Paikin but he is also the rare exception. All allegations of sexual misconduct must be dealt with seriously, carefully, judiciously and with an appropriate level of due process. Indeed, none of us should ever tolerate a rush to judgment that destroys an innocent person’s life. At the same time, women who speak out and share their stories need to be heard and not dismissed due false claims from others in the past. Simply, we need to find a balance and make sure we try to carry out the rights of the accuser and accuse in order to keep the #metoo movement legitimate and protect the wrongly accused.