Ryerson University has no plans to suspend Steve Paikin pending the results of the third-party investigation launched by TVO into sexual harassment allegations against him.
“His responsibilities as a distinguished visiting professor are continuing as planned,” Ryerson’s public affairs manager Johanna VanderMaas told the Ryersonian in an email.
Paikin is under investigation by his employer, TVO, for allegedly sexually harassing former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson.
“The university is surprised to hear the allegation against Steve Paikin, of which we were made aware on Feb. 5. The university is monitoring the developments. We understand that TVO has launched an independent third-party investigation into the allegation,” read a statement prepared by Ryerson University.
Paikin is best known for hosting TVO’s The Agenda, the flagship current affairs program of TVO, Ontario’s public broadcaster.
Paikin allegedly made advances towards Thomson at a lunch at Grano restaurant in 2010, “Not five minutes into the lunch the host asked me if I would sleep with him. My assistant almost spit his drink all over the table,” Thomson wrote on Women’s Post, a business magazine published by Thomson.
In the same allegation, Thomson says that Paikin has persisted with the same proposition whenever they meet at political events. “There is still one man whose actions haunt me.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Paikin responded to the accusations publicly, denying any wrongdoing but saying that he welcomed a third-party investigation into the allegations.
“(TVO) did the right thing by calling in an independent third party to investigate this mess and I welcome that investigation. Bring it on! I have no doubt but that a thorough and fair analysis of the allegations and the parties involved will point to the truth. I look forward to all parties having their say,” Paikin said in a Facebook post.
“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.”
TVO has said Paikin will remain on air and that the “evidence to date” does not justify removing him from The Agenda.
In December 2015, Paikin was appointed as a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson. Ryerson’s provost and vice-president, Mohamed Lachemi at the time, commented on having Paikin at Ryerson as a reputable and distinguished guest. “As a seasoned, well-respected journalist, Steve Paikin brings a wealth of insight and expertise that will be of tremendous benefit to our students. His real-world experience will give students an understanding of the ever changing media industry.”