Newspaper does damage control on Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi

PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh newspaper was left scrambling to explain on Sunday why a profile of former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was reprinted in an advertising supplement without mentioning the abuse allegations that led to his termination.

A profile of Ghomeshi was on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette promotional supplement that was sent to non-subscribers of the paper on Sunday.

The 850-word write up, featuring an August interview with Ghomeshi on his thoughts on life as an immigrant, first ran in the paper and online on Oct. 19.

The paper posted an explanation on its website Sunday explaining the advertising supplement was printed on Oct. 23, three days before Ghomeshi’s firing and the start of a number of media reports containing allegations from women who say they were physically or sexually assaulted.

The “promotional advertising vehicle” contains “evergreens,” stories the paper considers its best work, executive editor David Shribman said in an interview Sunday.

Due to a schedule that sees the promotion printed 11 days in advance there was no way they could have pulled it back in time, Shribman said in a phone interview.

“We kind of got caught in the publication cycle,” he said.

“It’s not a question of stupidity, it’s a question of deadlines.”

Shribman couldn’t provide an exact number of copies that were distributed but said they would have numbered in the “tens of thousands” of people. He said a note of explanation on the Ghomeshi piece would be in a future edition.

“The next time we print this thing… we will also clarify what’s going on with this guy.”

In 2010, Ghomeshi’s show, “Q,” achieved syndicated in the U.S. care of Public Radio International. The show now airs on more than 180 stations — including in Pittsburgh.

As many as nine women have alleged in media reports that Ghomeshi abused them physically and sexually. Toronto police have launched an investigation after three women came forward with accusations.

Neither he nor his lawyer have commented on the police investigation, but Ghomeshi said Thursday he would meet the allegations “directly,” and said he won’t discuss “this matter” further with the media.

Ghomeshi wrote last weekend in a Facebook post that he has had “rough sex” with women, but insisted it was always consensual.

Ghomeshi has launched a $55-million lawsuit against the CBC for breach of confidence. He also filed a grievance alleging defamation, a source said.

A CBC memo issued last week said Ghomeshi was fired after senior executives saw “graphic evidence that Jian had caused physical injury to a woman.”