NEWS
02/06/2018 18:15 EST | Updated 02/07/2018 11:31 EST

Steve Paikin, TVO's 'The Agenda' Host, Denies Sexual Harassment Allegation

A former Toronto mayoral candidate said he propositioned her at a lunch in 2010.

Steve Paikin has denied allegations from former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson that he propositioned her.
Getty
Steve Paikin has denied allegations from former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson that he propositioned her.

Prominent Ontario TV host Steve Paikin has denied an allegation that he propositioned a former Toronto mayoral candidate, calling it "complete fiction."

On his personal Facebook page, the broadcaster said he "did not have sex, suggest, request, imply, or joke about having sex" with Sarah Thomson, who accused him of doing so in an email she sent to him on Saturday. Paikin said he forwarded her email to his superiors.

"To say I was gobsmacked by the allegations in her email is the understatement of my life," he wrote. "I knew the charges were bogus but I knew I owed it to my employer to be totally transparent about all of it."

The allegation came to light Monday in a statement from TVO, the station he works for.

Last week, Thomson published a story in the Women's Post that an unnamed political TV host sexually harassed her at a lunch with her and her assistant in 2010.

"Not five minutes into the lunch the host asked me if I would sleep with him," she wrote.

"My assistant almost spit his drink all over the table. I politely told the host that I loved my husband and would never do that."

Thomson also alleged that this host approached her at events several times since the 2010 incident to jokingly suggest they have sex.

Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Sarah Thomson has accused TVO host Steve Paikin of sexually propositioning her.

Paikin said in his post that he thinks the "spurious" allegations made in Thompson's email undermine the #MeToo movement.

He addressed Thomson, saying "you and I both know the incident you described never happened."

He continued, "You've defamed me, Sarah. I have no idea why, but you have."

Paikin said he was glad that TVO allowed him to stay in his position and welcomed an independent third-party investigation into the accusation.

Thomson, the publisher and CEO of Women's Post, tweeted Tuesday — before Paikin released his statement — that she received online criticism for publicizing her allegations.

"Women don't come forward because they get attacked on social media," she said in another tweet.

She declined comment to the Toronto Star Tuesday after Paikin published his response.

In 2013, Thomson accused former Toronto mayor Rob Ford of making sexual advances.

At the time, she alleged in a Facebook post that he hit on her at an event and said in the post's comments that he grabbed her "ass."

Thomson also made headlines that year when she said she had joked to former media baron Conrad Black at a party years prior about sleeping with him, saying the remark was prompted by a number of women "ogling" him.

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