TVO has made the right decision in keeping Agenda host Steve Paikin on the air while conducting a probe of allegations by Toronto activist Sarah Thomson that he propositioned her eight years ago over lunch. There’s a big difference between “believing”—if by “believing” we mean taking an issue seriously enough to thoroughly investigate—and the wave of instant career-destroying condemnation on the basis of an allegation alone that we have witnessed over the past few months. It may well be that each and every one of the high profile men who have been accused of sexual misconduct are guilty; but in the words of Paul Newman in the role of Judge Roy Bean, “We’ll give ‘em a fair trial and THEN we’ll take them out and hang them.” Rough justice indeed but better then what has been accorded to Paikin and many others recently. Men who have been found to use their position of power to inflict themselves on vulnerable women should be rightly condemned. But there are means available to adjudicate allegations that do not rise to the level of criminality that would get decided in court. There are human resources consultants and labour lawyers who can conduct investigations and find facts. Whatever the outcome, TVO has taken that wise and fair course.
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