A Statement re: CTV decision
*media may excerpt only with link to full statement*
I was not aware of any steps taken by Bell HR until reporters started calling me today. Bell conducted a weeks-long investigation before making its decision, but I was not updated nor did I request to be.
There is a reason I wrote the blog without naming anyone except me. I wanted the focus to be on the fact that #MeToo experiences are happening in Canada, in all kinds of businesses, despite the fact that at the time I wrote, few Canadians had spoken out about their experiences. It was CTV that chose to name the parties involved.
Since then, three women reached out to me and said they had experiences similar to mine between 2007–2017. I won’t share the details of what they told me, but I will say that they were understandably concerned about maintaining their privacy if they chose to report what happened, after seeing how I was treated after reporting. I do not know if they chose to come forward.
Bell reps said they would keep my report confidential. I was, of course, prepared to face the person I was accusing. In my opinion that is only fair with a report of this nature.
However, I was not prepared for CTV public relations to publically name my harasser before even commencing its investigation, and name me as the instigating source for the investigation. Since when do corporations speak to the media about internal HR issues?
All parties involved in a complaint like this (accused and accuser) should have the right to privacy, until such time as a thorough investigation is done.
This is new territory, both because of social media, and because of the nature of harassment now being discussed in the public sphere. For example, in many harassment situations going to the police isn’t appropriate, as a crime may not have been committed. However, just because something isn’t criminal, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate behaviour for the workplace.
I can see CTV’s lack of discretion having a chilling effect on people being willing to report harassment. Given the additional harassment I experienced online after CTV named my harasser and me, why on earth would anyone want to come forward in the future? I should say that I did not experience threats like some women have recently, and my years as a reporter have completely hardened me to random criticism, but it was difficult for my family to see so much online hate.
I truly have empathy for any family who experiences job loss. Period. However, I also believe that we are all responsible for our behaviour and sometimes, even years later, bad actions have repercussions. I know I have been held to account for a variety of choices I’ve made in my life. We all are.
Bridget Brown is a Calgary-based freelance writer & marketing consultant. She is married with a four-year-old son and another one on the way.