Yesterday afternoon, I received the following letter from Howard A. Levitt, a lawyer who claims to be representing Ross Porter.
I replied asking for specifics, and received this response from Mr. Levitt:
I actually didn't know the name Ross Porter until this story broke in the Globe & Mail on June 7, 2018 under the headline "Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 CEO steps down in wake of probe into sexual-harassment allegations". It opens with this paragraph:
Long-time broadcaster Ross Porter stepped down last week from his position as president and CEO of Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 radio station on the heels of a third-party workplace investigation, a probe spurred by a letter from more than a dozen current and former employees alleging he had sexually harassed staff and created a toxic workplace.
Naturally, when I've had people like Dani Elwell, Jaymz Bee, Heather Bambrick, Ralph Benmergui and Bill King on my podcast, I had to ask about their experience at JAZZ.FM91. How could I not? It's definitely one of the most compelling Toronto radio stories of the past year. Here's the most recent update from the Globe & Mail. If this isn't the premise for a movie, I don't know what is. As Simon Houpt (who has done great reporting on the story over the past year) put it last week:
A dissident group of member-donors of JAZZ.FM91 triumphed in a tight proxy battle Friday afternoon – capping months of turmoil that began with allegations of workplace misconduct – by tossing out the board of directors of the not-for-profit Toronto radio station and replacing it with their own slate.
Now back to Mr. Levitt's threatening letter. It quite upset me. I didn't think it was fair. I listened back to the aforementioned episodes to ensure my memory was correct. Every reference I made was to an article I read in the Globe & Mail. My guests merely shared their personal experiences. There was nothing close to slander. But to be ultra-safe, I did two things:
- I edited the episodes to remove references to Ross Porter. I kept the original source, of course, but had just received a threatening letter from a lawyer and felt this was a quick way to resolve things.
- I retained a lawyer and got legal advice.
In hindsight, I should have done #2 before #1, but I digress.
Armed with legal advice, I can say without any doubt that what was said on my podcast was in no way slanderous to Ross Porter. I am angered by the threats and intimidation by Mr. Porter's lawyer. So is my lawyer. He's personally angry that I'm being bullied in any manner. I have several legal options and I'll be considering them all over the weekend. I may not have known who Ross Porter was before, but I do now. And I am not going to let him shut me down unjustly and unfairly. I have done nothing wrong.
The Dani Elwell, Jaymz Bee, Heather Bambrick, Ralph Benmergui and Bill King episodes are all excellent and my my goal with Toronto Mike'd remains to give them a platform where their stories can be heard. I sincerely hope you give them each a listen and consider subscribing. I'll update you on this ordeal as it progresses.