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Canadian broadcaster TVO has launched a third-party investigation into a sexual harassment allegation made against flagship TV talk show host Steve Paikin.
The anchor of The Agenda, a nightly series on North America’s largest educational broadcaster, Paikin is tied to an online post by former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, in which she alleges she was propositioned during a 2010 lunch.
TVO had launched an independent investigation into the allegation, according to a spokesperson, who added that they saw “no reason to remove Mr. Paikin from his role as host for The Agenda, pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Paikin in a Facebook post claimed the allegations against him were “100% false,” that he had been “defamed” and that he appreciated TVO allowing him to remain in his post while they investigate the claims against him. “To my delight, TVO has left me in the anchor chair of The Agenda. I appreciate that vote of confidence,” he wrote.
Thomson did not name Paikin on her website post, as she recounted the lunch with a TV talk show host in Toronto. “My assistant and I met him at Grano’s on Yonge Street, and the three of us ordered our lunch. Not five minutes into the lunch the host asked me if I would sleep with him,” Thomson claimed in her post.
“My assistant almost spit his drink all over the table. I politely told the host that I loved my husband and would never do that,” she added. TVO said it learned of this allegation on Feb. 3 “when an email from former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson was sent to Steve Paikin,” who immediately informed his employer of its existence.
“TVO does not tolerate sexual harassment. We believe it is important that allegations be fully heard and investigated,” TVO CEO Lisa de Wilde added in her statement. Paikin was adamant in his online post that the sexual harassment alleged by Thomson never happened.
“I mean no harm to Sarah Thomson. But Sarah, you and I both know the incident you 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,” he wrote.
Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. Updated with a response by Steve Paikin made as part of a Facebook post.
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