By David Farrell
Derringer May Have Skirted A Corus of Complaints
Corus Radio’s executive and management teams are under public scrutiny after Q107 morning man John Derringer was called out by four former female colleagues for an alleged pattern of abusive verbal behaviour–all of whom are now saying that their earlier complaints went unheeded by management and the company’s HR department.
Derringer was taken off the air Tuesday after the scandal started to unravel on social and mainstream media, pushing management to appoint an external investigator charged with issuing an independent report about the allegations against the broadcaster and its million-plus dollar morning show host.
What follows is a timeline of events that pushed Corus to act.
– Saturday, May 21, at 8:52 a.m.: Former Derringer In the Morning co-host Jennifer Valentyne (2017-2019) posted an almost 13-minute video to Facebook titled “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” In it, she notably refrains from naming names but goes on record as saying she has filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission after living with a pattern of events that eventually led her to leave commercial broadcasting and set up Valentyne Productions, where she creates, develops and produces digital content and hosts a YouTube channel with daughter Georgia.
– Saturday, May 21, at 14:10, former co-host Jacqui Delaney (2002) applauds Valentyne for going public and is the first to name Derringer on her Facebook page. In the post, she writes: “Yeah, I know, you thought you bought my silence years ago. No sir. I should have spoken out long before now. And there are a few people who are lucky I’m only naming John because those who sat in that studio and watched it happen and those in management who helped cover it up? You’re equally as culpable. You know who you are. This serial abuser needs to be taken off the air immediately. Ratings be damned. Let’s see if Corus will finally do the right thing or if they’ll double down.”
The following day, May 23, she expands in her allegation that management had known for “decades” that there was a big problem with the star morning show host, and posts a May 2002 clipping from Frank Magazine that suggests as much.
Her post elicits a great number of comments from men and women, many of which suggest misogyny has long been a peril for women broadcasters that has gone unchecked. It should be noted that none of these claims are verifiable as yet.
– Sunday, May 22, 23 & 24: Mike Boon’s Toronto Mike blog posts a damning condemnation of what has been going on at Q in a collection of angry social media posts attributed to former female Corus and Q107 staffers, including Andrea Rooz, Maureen Holloway, Teri Hart, Supriya Dwivedi, and Raina Douris. Colleen Rusholme is also mentioned in his ongoing online forum.
– Monday, May 22: blogTO reports on the building tsunami of controversy with an eye-popping headline that screams ‘Toronto icon posts explosive video detailing rampant workplace sexism’. The story digs deeper and suggests more allegations against the broadcaster and its $1M-plus star morning show host.
– Tuesday, May 24: Connie Thiessen headlines her story in Broadcast Dialogue: 'Q107’s Derringer in the Morning on hiatus pending external investigation'.
– May 24: Kevin Donovan, lead investigative reporter for the Toronto Star, along with Alex Boyd, dig deeper into the swelling Corus catastrophe with more quotes and acknowledgement from Valentyne that she was referring to Derringer and Corus in her video. The reporters' interview Valentyne, Holloway, Delaney, and Andrea Rooz, who add more damning weight to an active independent investigation, which a Corus spokesperson acknowledges is underway.
– May 25: Liz Braun, a longstanding reporter with the Toronto Sun, reports on Valentyne’s Human Rights complaint and the fact that John Derringer has been suspended from his morning show and that Corus has retained Rachel Turnpenney from Turnpenney Milne LLP to conduct an external investigation. “Effective immediately, the show, Derringer in the Morning, will be on hiatus pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
Braun follows this up with another far harder-hitting opinion piece that pointedly questions management's role in this unravelling fiasco.
– Subsequently, Global, CBC, and other mainstream media have and continue reporting on a controversy that should undoubtedly send a message to all companies that employee complaints need to be taken seriously and dealt with in a timely and fair-handed fashion.
– May 25: The Toronto Star's Kevin Donovan reports that the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, also known as Abuse Hurts, has cut ties with Derringer; this after Derringer and his show brought in more than $400K to the charity's annual fundraiserer last year.