In the space of one week, l’affaire Raveena went from unspeakable private tragedy to institutional scandale to, perhaps inevitably, empty vessel for countless ego-driven agendas and petty payback.
At the Toronto Star, uncomfortable truths by the satirical press, plus demands by the paper’s union for an independent inquiry – and the National Post‘s reporting of same – undid management’s cone-of-silence strategy.
Public editor Kathy English was deployed to pen a master class in self-serving suck-and-blow, in which she clumsily relied upon Raveena Aulakh’s plea for privacy (“’Please don’t talk about me. Please don’t let anyone write about me,’ she wrote.”) not only as an explanation for not running an obit, but as tacit justification for the Star’s subsequent attempts to sweep the entire HR headache under the rug.
Why dishonour the NNA-winning journo’s memory with an independent investigation when Star management can simply take care of the unpleasantness in discreet, respectful silence?
After acknowledging the now out-of-the-bag entanglements between Raveena, Star Touch editor Jon Filson and ME Jane Davenport in an attempt to starve the story of oxygen, English ran back to the corporate fence:
“I do not know all of the details of what this investigation revealed but I can understand that much of what all are dealing with here are private personnel matters and that the Star has a long-standing policy not to comment on personnel issues.”
Move along, nothing to see here! And more’s the pity, because among the gaping holes in this story is why Filson’s conduct in the affair merited an immediate curb-kicking, while Davenport’s didn’t.
The simplest explanation? Legal advice. There’s a world of difference between Jon and Jane making the beast with two managers and Jon legovering with a unionized sluggo like Raveena.
Jane’s transgressions didn’t amount to a firing offence, so she’d be eligible for a severance package not unadjacent to $400,000. That’s a bit rich for a struggling pifflesheet that just paid publisher John Cruickshank a $750K kiss-off. Best to bury her pushing paper in some airless pit of a TorStar office, seen by newsroom drudges only in the elevators, until she takes the hint and quits.
The mood in the newsroom toward the much-unloved Filson ranged from the mutinous to the murderous, so he was best discarded.
Even the Star, it seems, has its limits. The paper has long had a history of clusterfucking, going back at least as far as the intern program of the 80s, a notorious bonkfest for horndog editors and naive young things straight out of J-skool. Senior editors rented an apartment near 1 Yonge that was referred to as the summer “fuck house.”
Then there was the time the Star’s Queen’s Park reporter Lisa Wright went berserk over her break-up with a married Sun reporter and trashed his office. Star ME Lou Clancy protected her, ostensibly because they had had a relationship. When Honderich found out via Trash Magazine, he canned Clancy, first sending him on sabbatical to Northwestern University in Chicago, then out the door.
Jane, it must be noted, has her own list of priors. Her current marriage to Postmedia sports editor Jack Romanelli began as a workplace desk-polisher at the Montreal Gazette, where he was ME in 2004.
Editor Peter Stockland was obliged to shitcan the much-married Jack for trying to finagle Jane a promotion, without divulging their horizontal relationship. (Jack booked off work last week, presumably to be with his bride during this difficult time.)
If the Star failed to cover itself in glory, what can be said of its competitors, who cranked up the sanctimony and faux outrage to drag One Yonge through the muck (‘tell Raveena’s story?!’, shurely?!–ed.):
Raveena Who? All Paul Godfrey cares about is sticking it to John Honderich, who crapped all over his business sense, ethics, etc., in a scathing screed in the Star last January. The Star union’s demand for an investigation into Raveena’s death was the perfect hook, gleefully exploited, to get the Star‘s dirty gitch into the headlines.
As above, but the emetic Joe Wormington is so far up Godfrey’s ass he can see Sue-Ann Levy‘s kneepads. The long-serving Rob Ford comfort bear is ever-keen to exact revenge for RoFo’s treatment at the hands of the Liberal rag. Of course, those Star stories were at least true, while Joe’s so far been left spinning whacko conspiracy theories: Was it really suicide? (er, yes.) Highlights included Holy Joe imploring his tweeps to put him in touch with Raveena’s beloved “grandmom”, who, as Raveena wrote in a loving 2012 profile, died in 2009.
Editrix Jonathan Kay went full ghoul, demanding the Star release Raveena’s suicide note in the interests of journalism, the public’s right to know, quack, quack, quack. Kay’s bizarre grandstanding is based on a healthy abhorrence for the Star and its holier-than-thou Atkinson principles, not to mention years at the Post watching his own paper get repeatedly scooped by the One Yonge gang. When Kay’s sometime patron, Tubby Black, was first incarcerated, Star types worked themselves into a state of fervid arousal with dark fantasies of his molestation in the showers, etc.
It’s revenge served cold for the Corpse, where management is still icing its collective goolies from the Star’s ruinous Jian Ghomeshi expose.