TORONTO — The most senior producer at the CBC Radio show “Q” is taking time off amid the scandal around its former host, Jian Ghomeshi, a spokesman for the broadcaster said Tuesday.
Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs for English services, said executive producer Arif Noorani would be away for an unspecified period.
“He decided to take some time while we get more clarity around this situation,” Thompson said.
Noorani is reported to have been told by a union representative of allegations made by a former producer on the show that Ghomeshi had grabbed her and made a lewd suggestion.
In an email made public by the CBC on Tuesday, Noorani denied the report, saying “at no point was an allegation of sexual harassment brought to my attention.”
One source has also told The Canadian Press that the young woman, who has chosen not to be identified publicly, made no allegations of serious harassment to the union volunteer or Noorani despite her insistence that she did.
“They both said she didn’t tell them that — the sex details,” the source said.
“She just said he yelled at her — they were going over a script — and stormed out.”
Thompson confirmed that Noorani maintains he did not know of the sexual allegations.
The CBC fired Ghomeshi, 47, on Oct. 26 after seeing what it called “graphic evidence” that he had caused physical injury to a woman.
He is also under criminal investigation after at least three women complained to Toronto police he had physically or sexually assaulted them.
In all, nine women — most anonymously — have spoken to media outlets about how Ghomeshi, without warning, attacked them.
Of the three who have complained to police, only actress Lucy DeCoutere, star of “Trailer Park Boys,” has agreed to be identified.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair rejected any notion that women who believe they have been assaulted by Ghomeshi should somehow be compelled to make formal complaints or talk to investigators.
“I’ve been somewhat surprised by the number of men who have written to us or come forward to suggest that we should force people to come forward and to participate in the criminal justice system,” Blair said.
“That attitude is shocking to me in the 21st century.”
Ghomeshi, who faces no charges, admitted in a lengthy Facebook posting to having a proclivity for rough sex but insisted all his encounters with women were consensual.
He has said he would meet the flurry of allegations “directly” but has yet to do so.
The CBC is also planning to announce who will conduct an independent investigation into the situation.
“We are looking to communicate that to our employees at some point (Tuesday),” Thompson said.
In a statement, Carmel Smyth, the president of the Canadian Media Guild which represents unionized employees at the CBC, said she was “saddened and disturbed” by the reports and revelations around Ghomeshi.
Smyth said the union community has been shaken and she acknowledged changes may be required to deal with the “structural issues and silences that can enable” harassment and abuse.
“The best chance we have of really addressing abuses is to work together to change the cultures and conditions that allow them to take place,” Smyth said in a statement.
“That means holding ourselves accountable, and holding our employers and the wider community accountable as well.”
Ghomeshi has filed a $55-million lawsuit alleging defamation and breach of confidence against the CBC. He has also filed a union grievance alleging wrongful dismissal and defamation.