The CBC as well as a Sudbury news website came out with articles back in January on how a Pride organization in Sudbury (Fierte Sudbury Pride) has recently been facing bigotry and doxxing attacks from “far-right extremists” and “white supremacists”.
The National Telegraph conducted its own investigation into the matter to see what exactly had transpired and what is causing the incidents to continue. TNT got in contact with individuals in Ontario familiar with the situation.
On the surface, the story seemed believable at first glance, with alleged white supremacists attacking a Pride organization in a hateful and bigoted manner.
The problem however, is that the story was single sourced – it was all according to Fierté Sunbury Pride. The supposed “white supremacists” were simply three right-wingers, one of which is Indigenous, and the claims of doxxing and bigotry were mere accusations that the CBC and Sudbury.com printed without any fact-checking.
The Chair of Fierté Sudbury Pride, Alex Tétreault, said in an interview with the CBC that, “Sometimes it’s using names that are not appropriate for the radio, dead-naming, misgendering. There have been cases where individuals have shown up to people’s workplaces,” portraying their issue with the three men as purely being a personal attack on their identities.
When TNT reached out to Fierté Sudbury Pride and asked if it was possible to get a record of their board membership and copies of the messages the right-wingers had sent them they failed to respond for more than 48 hours, after acknowledging our first message by Alex Tétreault himself.
It is plausible bad actions and offensive messages were sent by the three right-wing activists, but it is suspicious that evidence of such messages is not forthcoming.
The three right wing activists seem to have been the only socially conscious individuals in this whole story, as they had been attempting to hold Fierté Sudbury Pride to account for allowing a convicted sexual predator to continue serving on their board.
Back on August 6th 2017, Eric Cashmore, a Fierté Sudbury Pride board member and LGBTQ youth outreach liaison, attempted to lure two young boys into a vehicle he was driving, to engage in intercourse with them. Cashmore showed a picture of a naked woman and asked the young teenage boys if they would like to enter his vehicle to go to a location to have sex with the woman in the picture. He also asked if both the boys were circumcised, and what type of underwear they were wearing.
Fortunately, Cashmore failed in his attempt to lure the boys into his vehicle and was arrested later that night.
This wasn’t the only creepy incident involving Cashmore. On September 16th, 2018, a woman called the police after seeing someone staring at her through her home’s windows, and the police later arrested Cashmore who was found in the area.
All this plus Eric’s history with drug addiction would normally have him removed from the board of Fierté Sudbury Pride, even just for appearances, but no, he was still on the board until late September of 2018.
The three right wing activists decided to investigate why Cashmore had been allowed to continue his work with the organization after having been charged and convicted for serious crimes.
This led to back and forth arguments between Fierté Sudbury Pride and the right wing activists over Eric Cashmore’s service on their board for another full year after his first arrest for a serious crime.
It could have been claimed that Cashmore’s legal history was simply not known by the other members of the Fierté Sudbury Pride board, but due to the three right wing activists’ pressure, Fierté Sudbury Pride no longer had that excuse, which may be the reason for the concentrated smear campaign directed at the three men.
One of the main accusations made against Sudbury Pride’s critics was a claim that they had intimidated board members at their workplaces.
Tétreault said, “But to have someone intimidate you at your workplace, and you being trapped and not being able to go anywhere or do anything about it. I think that would be terrifying for anyone.” referring to when the right wing activists had contacted the President of Thorneloe University where Laurel O’Gorman, a board member in charge of equity and diversity, worked.
The CBC article as well as the Sudbury news website’s article claimed that the activists showed up to O’Gorman’s place of work, which is based on accusation as no evidence is available to prove that they actually went to her place of work
The three right wing activists claim to have simply called the university President and Provost, John Gibaut, in order to make an ethics complaint about O’Gorman, for documented identification with and support for ANTIFA and far-left groups.
This may be why the CBC only referred to O’Gorman as “the individual” in the article as her connections to extremist groups would have put the right-wingers issues with her into context.
At the very least, this was not a clear cut situation of “far-right extremists” attacking a Pride organization. All of these details were publicly available at the time the CBC and Sudbury.com articles were written, and a publication with the resources of the CBC shouldn’t have failed to do the research.
The CBC could have contacted anyone to give a more balanced view of the situation, but it seems like they would rather run with their narrative of the LGBTQ community being put-upon by the right, rather than fairly report on potential wrongdoing by Fierté Sudbury Pride.
Covering for the wrongdoing of an organization, no matter what other good work they may do, does not helpful to anyone, it just enables bad behaviour.