Suicide at the Star: Raveena Remembered

Frankland Capital congratulations to Temo Primrose Gare, winner of the Raveena Aulakh Memorial Award in Journalism and Communication.

Temo, a masters in journalism student at Western U., is the first recipient of the $2,000 Aulakh prize, in honour of the late Toronto Star environment reporter.

Readers will recall that when Aulakh committed suicide last year, Star management refused to publish her obituary. For the paper that had so unsparingly exposed the seamy secrets of Jian Ghomeshi and Rob Ford, the circumstances surrounding Aulakh’s death, including a love triangle involving, er, Star management, hit a little too close to home.

When the scandal became too big to ignore, Star ombudsthingy Kathy English rattled off a self-serving suck-and-blow, citing Aulakh’s plea for privacy (“Please don’t talk about me. Please don’t let anyone write about me,”) not only as an explanation for not running an obit, but as tacit justification for the subsequent attempts to sweep the entire tragedy under the rug.

After all, why dishonour the NNA-winning journo’s memory with an independent investigation when Star management could simply deal with the unpleasantness in discreet, respectful silence?

But Raveena’s death rocked the newsroom and fingers were soon pointed at those responsible for her descent into alcoholism and her final solution.

Chief among them was Jon Filson, much-married Star senior editor, who had been having an affair with Raveena whilst also getting a legover with Jane Davenport, Raveena’s boss.

It was a tumultuous relationship from which Raveena yearned to escape:

“I wanted out many, many times because I couldn’t stay a mistress forever,” she emailed Filson. “You begged me to stay, to wait, dozens of times…. I was sad but I loved you. That became my life.”

Filson later wrote in The Walrus. “Raveena dropped me many times, for varying lengths of time. Sometimes I asked her to come back, sometimes I let go. We loved and cared for each other as best as we could. We both tried. Unfortunately, neither of us was very good at it.”

Other Star sluggos had a different take, describing Filson as a “serial predator,” who tormented Aulakh with not-so-subtle threats about how he had ruined the career of a misguided intern who came before her.

“I used to love that newsroom, it was my refuge. Now I’m scared of coming in – I feel emotionally unsafe,” she wrote.

But the living must go on. While Raveena’s family offers a scholarship in her memory (to which, curiously, the Star didn’t contribute), Filson’s buddies in the newsroom have apparently helped him find a new gig (Filson and Star editor Michael Cooke were always chums. Filson even texted Cookie shortly after Aulakh’s death, asking if it was safe to return to the newsroom. It wasn’t; Filson was soon for the high jump.)

Now Filson has a new gig, writing fluffers for Enterprise Canada, the esteemed flak firm which numbers among its clients none other than the Canadian International Autoshow, sponsored by… and the Toronto Star!

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4 comments on “Suicide at the Star: Raveena Remembered
  1. Nete Peedham says:

    As he sat, analyzing his navel fluff, he wrote this…

    Nothing has been heard on the matter from Jane Davenport.

    Such is Meritocracy in this country.

  2. John MacLachlan Gray says:

    In the current environment, will Mr. Filson be outed as a mini-Weinstein?

  3. reym says:

    After reading The Walrus item I hope Mr. Filson is run over by a big SUV. What a self-pitying creep. Ugh.

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