We trust the rumours are true that CBC ombudsmidget Esther Enkin will soon launch an investigation into the disgraceful conduct of the Corpse news department re Canadian thespian Albert Schultz.
Readers will recall how earlier this year, Schultz was on the wrong end of a $7.85-million civil suit by four actors who claimed he subjected them to years of sexual harassment at his Soulpepper Theatre Company.
In Toronto Lite this month, Leah McLaren argued that Schultz’s fall from grace was mostly a matter of bad timing–the #MeToo furor was roiling U.S. media, while in Canada, the CBC was in a frenzy to expose a homegrown Harvey Weinstein.
To that end, the Corpse went to unprecedented expense to assemble a team of journos from various departments—entertainment, the fifth estate, The Current—to gin up a list of influential, well-connected and powerful Canadian men alleged to be guilty of impropriety.
(Naturally, none of the CBC’s own televisual personalities was included in their investigation–including a certain former bingo caller; oft rumoured to enjoy a little hanky spanky. Moses Znaimer, the former city-TV mini-mogul, was targeted by the Corpse stalkers, but nothing materialized.)
Then along came Schultz and the CBC finally had a victim to justify its witch hunt, and an entire fifth estate episode was devoted to Schultz’s “misdeeds.”
Noah Richler, the former National Post pundit and friend of Schultz, told McLaren the charges against Schultz had been strategically trumped up. “The whole thing has far more to do with power and resentment than sexual battery,” he said. Many friends and former Schultz colleagues agreed, although none would say so publicly.
“The court of public opinion has made extraordinary victims out of Albert and [his wife] Leslie,” Richler said. “That fifth estate piece was the single worst piece of publicly funded journalism I’ve ever seen.”
Ultimately, the case against Schultz ended with a whimper.
In mediation last May, the complainants demanded Schultz confess his sins, but he refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and in the end, the four claimants caved.
According to McLaren, one of her sources close to the case said the settlement covered legal fees and a token payment “in the low thousands” for each woman.