Friday, August 28, 2009


A brutal fumble this week slipped through the fingers of the Toronto Humane Society (THS), when the Toronto Star broke news that a former employee who signed an online petition calling for the firing of THS president Tim Trow was threatened by a lawyer for Trow and THS that if he didn’t stop repeating negative comments online (such as “Tim Trow must go!”) the former employee would be slapped with a lawsuit. When the Star contacted a THS spokesperson about the legal threat against former employee Anthony De Melo, the response from THS’ Ian McConachie was a firm denial: “Tim doesn’t care that it says ‘Tim Trow must go.’ That’s not defamatory. We don't care. We’d never file a lawsuit or send a letter over that. You know? We don’t care.” It was a pretty emphatic denial. And since Trow’s lawyer’s letter threatening the lawsuit was in the Star’s hands, the THS response was that the lawyer must have been “confused” about his instructions. All of this is fair enough, although arguably weak. But the real Fumble came when McConachie got back to the Star later to reverse field completely and argue that not only was the THS lawyer and Trow behind the threat, but that De Melo deserved to be threatened and that his online posting (the one he said “We don’t care” about) was a serious issue. It was just bizarre. Folks, you need to ensure you’ve gathered all the facts before making sweeping declarations. Ask for time to collect all the information you need, then reply.

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