CBC has announced that it has cancelled its planned broadcast of the forum on Bill C-16 citing “serious harassment” directed at two of the participants.
The forum took place at U of T on November 19, 2016, and included psychology professor Jordan Peterson, law professor Brenda Cossman, and University of British Columbia Professor of Education and Senior Associate Dean, Administration, Faculty Affairs & Innovation, Mary Bryson, as participants.
Peterson, who gained international media attention for his YouTube video on Bill C-16 — which is federal legislation that criminalizes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression — debated Cossman and Bryson on that topic.
Peterson tweeted that Ideas, a current-affairs radio show that airs on CBC Radio One, originally planned to broadcast the forum on January 8, but cancelled due to “harassment aimed at the other participants.” In another tweet, he said that the show is “looking into another forum to explore the issues raised in the debate.”
U of T Media Relations Director Althea Blackburn-Evans confirmed with The Varsity that the CBC had recorded the audio of the debate and intended to broadcast it at a later date. CBC Head of Public Affairs Chuck Thompson also confirmed the information contained in Peterson’s tweets.
“In light of the serious harassment experienced by 2 of the panelists, we made a decision to look for other opportunities to discuss Bill C16 – an important issue,” said Thompson in an email statement to The Varsity. “We’ll have more to say about our coverage in the coming weeks.”
In December, The Ubyssey reported that Bryson had received homophobic and transphobic messages as well as “violent threats” over social media following their participation at the forum. Blackburn-Evans told The Varsity, “If there are concerns about threats of some kind, that would be what UBC would be looking into and addressing.”
Peterson did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment.