CTV ‘regrets’ errors in report that led to ouster of Patrick Brown as PC leader—questions still loom over allegations that remain in publicly available stories
The $8-million defamation lawsuit filed by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown against CTV following reporting in 2018 by the media outlet surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct by Brown during his time as a Barrie-area MP has been resolved.
Few details are available about the terms of the settlement or whether any financial compensation was provided to Brown, but a statement has been attached to CTV’s earlier reporting on the allegations that says details were “factually incorrect.”
“On January 24, 2018, four months before a Provincial election, CTV broadcast a segment concerning Patrick Brown,” the statement reads. “Key details provided to CTV for the story were factually incorrect and required correction. CTV National News regrets including those details in the story and any harm this may have caused to Mr. Brown.”
It remains unclear what details CTV is referring to, and what this means for the allegations, which the accusers have repeatedly maintained are true. One element of the accusations that has already been clarified is the age of one of the women who was a target of Brown’s alleged sexual advances. The initial CTV reporting said she was 18 at the time of the alleged encounter. She was actually 19-years-old—a detail that was corrected in CTV’s reporting.
Brown has denied all the allegations and filed his lawsuit shortly after CTV first aired the story.
CTV’s initial reports in January 2018 detailed the stories of two young women who accused Brown of sexual misconduct during his time as a Barrie-area MP. The allegations were particularly damaging, capturing international attention at the height of the #MeToo movement. Brown was forced to resign from his role as Ontario PC leader. One incident allegedly occurred at Brown’s home. He allegedly exposed himself and propositioned a woman for oral sex. Another allegedly involved a former staff member of Brown who said he forced himself on top of her and tried to kiss her.
Brown has denied the allegations from the outset. He shared a Facebook post in the days that followed the initial CTV report, contesting the stories, saying details in one set of allegations were “factually impossible”—the story in question said the alleged assault took place in Brown’s second-floor bedroom, but Brown maintained he lived in a one-floor apartment at the time. In the second allegation Brown maintains it was the female accuser who attempted to force herself on him, while his partner at the time was in the other room.
Patrick Brown released a lengthy Facebook post defending himself following the allegations.
“I believe in women’s rights. I support the #MeToo movement, but false allegations diminish that movement. False allegations hurt that,” Brown told The Pointer in November 2018, a month after being elected as mayor in Canada’s 9th largest city. “The National Post and Global National, in the week that followed, highlighted some of the huge holes in the story, [such as] the person who supposedly drove the individual to my house said it never happened. The fact that the house [where the incident allegedly occurred] wasn’t even purchased at the time. There were quick, quick, verifications that CTV could have done that would have shown that the story didn’t add up, and unfortunately they didn’t. They were in a rush to produce a story. It was part of the eye of the storm of the #MeToo movement and they wanted to be part of it, so they rushed out a false story.”
None of the allegations, or Brown’s defence of them, have been proven in court. However, the resolution of the lawsuit does little to clear the air around the original CTV stories. The women who came forward have repeatedly maintained what they said is true.
“I stand absolutely by the truth of what I said to CTV,” one accuser told CTV in the months following the explosive allegations that led to Brown stepping down as PC leader—paving the way for Doug Ford to become Premier of Ontario.
“I continue to stand by the detailed account of these events that I have previously provided to CTV,” the other accuser maintained at the time.
The online versions of CTV’s original stories are still hosted on the platform’s website, both in print and broadcast forms. They have been updated to include the regret over “factually incorrect” details. The central allegations, however, still remain in the publicly available stories.
Patrick Brown alongside his wife following his 2018 election victory to become mayor of Brampton.
(Image from Joel Wittnebel/The Pointer files)
Mayor Brown did not respond to The Pointer’s request for a statement on the lawsuit’s resolution.
During a press conference Wednesday morning, Brown said he was happy to put the whole thing behind him.
“I am looking forward to the future,” he said.
That future will very likely include a run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.
For weeks, Brown’s social media and public statements about key federal issues, like the war in Ukraine and federal carbon tax increase, have hinted that the mayor has his sights set on broader political ambitions.
“I am going to make a decision very soon,” Brown said Wednesday morning, noting that his next step would be made public in the “coming days”.
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