TVO’s The Agenda host Steve Paikin responded to allegations of sexual harassment, mounted by formal mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson, on Tuesday, calling them “100 per cent false.”
Paikin’s statement comes on the heels of TVO announcing it would not be removing him from his role amidst an investigation.
“To my delight, TVO has left me in the anchor chair of The Agenda. I appreciate that vote of confidence,” Paikin said in a Facebook post.
“They also did the right thing by calling in an independent third party to investigate this mess and I welcome that investigation. Bring it on!”
Sexual assault allegations
In a Feb. 2 post on Thomson’s website Women’s Post, she wrote that a political talk show host “asked me if I would sleep with him,” after attending a lunch at Grano, a restaurant near Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue West.
Thomson wrote that she replied she would never do that and then excused herself to call her campaign manager.
The post goes on to say that the host has continued to approach her on several different occasions at political functions with the same proposition.
In a statement released by TVO chief executive officer Lisa de Wilde on Monday, the broadcaster said it would be launching an investigation in relation to comments Paikin allegedly made to Thomson at a 2010 lunch.
“TVO does not tolerate sexual harassment. We believe it is important that allegations be fully heard and investigated. Therefore, TVO is appointing an independent third party to investigate Ms. Thomson’s allegation,” de Wilde said.
Host wants to reclaim reputation
Paikin said he has spent more than three decades building his reputation but is now being connected to lies in a story he claims he has no business in.
“Today, I begin to reclaim my reputation and fight back against these scurrilous allegations.”
His post goes on to say that the incident never happened with Thomson.
“I did not have sex, suggest, request, imply, or joke about having sex with you … you’ve defamed me,” alleges Paikin.
CBC Toronto reached out to Thomson in the wake of Paikin’s response, but she declined.
She has made several references to the situation on Twitter, retweeting supporters and writing, “It’s a bit scary the number of men that are bashing me today.”
Thomson also responded to a follower in a tweet asking them to send her strength amidst the allegations against Paikin.
“He has a big stage and is using it!” she said.