Man sues CBC for publishing reader comment that attacks his credibility

A safety inspector is suing the CBC for publishing a comment he says is “malicious and cruel”, and ruins his professional credibility.

Robert Scott, who lives in the Yukon, says the Oct. 13 comment — which attacks his weight, competence and credibility — violated CBC’s comment guidelines.

The Whitehorse Daily Star reports that Scott says his “ability to work in this community has been severely affected by these libelous statements,” and has launched a lawsuit against the CBC for $125,000, plus legal expenses and interest.

The Daily Star explains:

“[Scott] filed the claim after a person with the user name BCHimself posted a long comment on a story about workplace safety charges laid against Procon Mining and Tunnelling.

“Procon is facing the charges after the death of 20-year-old Paul Wentzell, who was struck and killed by an unoccupied vehicle on the Wolverine mine site.

“The charges allege the vehicle was parked on an incline and did not have a proper braking mechanism. In the comment, BCHimself said Yukon health and safety inspectors are “unqualified to investigate let alone recommend charges be laid against contracting companies such as Procon. …

“BCHimself goes on to say the inspectors have no previous law enforcement or investigative experience, but that several have union backgrounds “and have made documented statements that they were out to ‘get’ contractors due to their not wanting union representation in the workforce.”

Scott claims the statements in the comment are false, and is worried people will read the comment as fact, instead of opinion. He has demanded an apology from CBC but has not yet received one.

He told the Daily Star that the damage has already been done: “Once on the web, there was and is no method to retract the libelous statements …. Anyone reading those comments on the website can republish the message by reprinting it and sending it again and again.”