TORONTO - Time is gentleman, as they say. The mudslinging machine – regrettably hyperactive in social media and political circles - that targeted the Corriere Canadese in recent months has begun to lose sympathy the street.
blogTO, a Toronto web portal, has issued - and posted - an official apology to the Corriere officially for characterizing a piece published in the Corriere Canadese, last January, authored by the publisher, the Hon. Joe Volpe, as "homophobic, transphobic and racist". The blogTO article appeared on its website on January 13, 2021.
Corriere and its publisher subsequently served a Statement of Claim on Fresh daily, blogTO’s publishing company, for libel, slander and defamation. blogTO has agreed to post the official apology on its www.blogto.com for six months. Here is the text:
"blogTO apologizes for his article entitled A Toronto School Board removed an LGBT helpline from its resources that appeared online on January 13, 2021. The article, since removed, included portions of a YouthLine press release that incorrectly characterized an article of the Corriere Canadese written by Joe Volpe, critical of some YouthLine content. This content was subsequently removed by YouthLine and the site was reinstated by the TCDSB. The press release referenced by blogTo referred described the Corriere Canadese article as homophobic, transphobic and racist. blogTo recognizes that this characterization of the Corriere Canadese article was false and apologizes for any harm or distress the publication may have created to Joe Volpe and/or Corriere Canadese".
This is a significant first step towards re-establishing the facts in a case involving several “institutional players” and which is having juridical implications.
The Corriere Canadese, in the article referenced above and in related reports, had criticized the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) for linking its portal to the Youthline website.
It remarked that with just 10 clicks, any child who browsed the site of the TCDSB could find himself “in possession of [age]inappropriate material”, including reviews of sex-purposed vibrators and pornographic photographs.
Corriere’s stance did not please some TCDSB trustees nor City Councilors Kristyn Wong-Tam and Paul Ainslie, among others. They unleashed a media storm accusing the publisher and our newspaper of homophobic, transphobic and racist positions.
The accusations were/are deeply offensive not only for Joe Volpe but also for all the journalists of the Corriere, who have always followed a correct editorial line based on facts and respectful of tolerance, inclusion, enhancement of diversity and defense of human rights.
Councillor Wong Tam then filed a motion in City Hall asking the City to remove institutional advertising from our newspaper. She is on the Board of Youthline, an organization funded in part and sponsored by the City.
Her motion was deferred to the March meeting when a new version removed the threat of cutting advertising was replaced by the motion reaffirming the City’s "displeasure with the Corriere Canadese following the printing and distribution of homophobic and transphobic articles on the TCDSB, its trustees and LGBTQ2S+ families".
The City of Toronto stopped advertising with the Corriere. The City of Vaughan did the same immediately following the appearance of Mayor Bevilacqua’s son on a zoom meeting preceding the vote, to condemn the Corriere.
Various political parties, including the Liberal, NDP rushed to judgement and followed suit as did various municipalities like Mississauga and Brampton. To his credit, Brampton’s mayor Patrick Brown, no stranger to the Mudslinging Machine, intervened personally to remove the veto.
The Corriere and its staff have been subjected to reputational damage and economic stress and loss.
In its defense, the Corriere launched defamation lawsuits against Councilors Wong Tam, Paul Ainslie, Trustees De Domenico, Di Pasquale, Li Preti, Rizzo, Fresh Daily, and Yahoo Canada.
"The accusations levelled against us are reprehensible misrepresentations, and a not so subtle, deliberate attempt to censor the freedom of the press and to silence the voice of our community”, said Mr. Volpe; we will not tolerate it.
Now, the mudslinging machine can no longer implicate blogTO.
We are confident that in the coming weeks others will wish to associate themselves with its official apology.
In the end it may be a judge who must re-establish the facts and the truth, and to punish, if necessary, those who have deliberately decided to tarnish the reputation and professionalism of those who work in our newspaper.
As we said at the outset, Time is a gentleman, and, over time, we are sure, justice will be done.
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