Davidar speaks out in his own defence

June 21, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Because I agree with Alex Good’s comment expressing dissatisfaction with the way ex-Penguin Canada executive David Davidar has been tried and more or less found guilty in the media without having had a chance to provide a defence to the accusations levelled against him, and because I myself have commented previously on only one half of this story, I feel it is incumbent upon me to point to Davidar’s statement of defence, released yesterday through his lawyer, Peter Downard.

Davidar’s statement says that he and ex-colleague Lisa Rundle shared a “consensual, flirtatious relationship that grew out of a close friendship,” and he denies any sexual harassment or wrongdoing. In contrast to Rundle’s statement of claim, filed in court on June 10, which alleges that Davidar “over time became more and more intense with his persistent protestations of lust and desire … and in return she became increasingly disturbed and afraid,” Davidar’s statement insists that Rundle was receptive to his advances, and that she “did nothing to convey to Mr. Davidar that his attention was unwanted.” On the contrary, the statement asserts that whenever Davidar inquired as to whether Rundle “liked the attention he was paying her,” she replied in the affirmative.

Contradicting Rundle’s claim that Davidar bullied his way into her hotel room in Frankfurt last October and forcibly kissed her, yesterday’s statement suggests that Rundle let him into her room voluntarily and acquiesced to his kiss. The statement goes even further, stating that a second kiss occurred in Davidar’s own hotel room the next night, following a dinner the two shared. According to Davidar’s statement, “Ms. Rundle subsequently told Mr. Davidar that she had enjoyed their kisses in Frankfurt, whether or not they were ever repeated.”

The Globe and Mail states that Rundle presented Davidar with a Christmas gift later that year, and goes on:

She went to his office to watch the Australian Open tennis in January of this year, particularly when their favourite player, Roger Federer, was on television. Ms. Rundle then requested a raise, he claims, even though salaries at Penguin were frozen. Instead, he offered her a new job title that justified a $10,000 pay increase, the statement says.

As for the other ex-Penguin employee who came forward to corroborate Rundle’s claim, Davidar says that Penguin’s human resources department “incorrectly understood” her complaint.

Rundle’s lawyer, Bobbi Olsen, responded to Davidar’s statement yesterday, saying that it “recants and reverses his two prior media assertions, with regard to the nature of his departure from Penguin and of the nature of the friendship with Ms. Rundle. By his own admission, he has lied to the media twice, and to his wife for years. He now asks that his third version of the facts be accepted as the truth. I will not comment further.”

Regardless of how closely Davidar’s statement cleaves to the truth of what actually transpired between him and Rundle, there was an obvious power imbalance that should have set warning bells ringing. Although Canadian law does not prohibit consensual sexual relationships between colleagues, it is not difficult to imagine that if a female subordinate was asked by a male superior (to whom she reports directly) whether his attention was unwanted, she would be loath to answer “yes.” Nevertheless, our justice system is predicated upon the assumption that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and none of the allegations against Davidar have been tested in court. In the absence of due process, the media circus that has sprung up around this story is testament to our society’s baser instincts, and adds yet another distressing element to this already depressing and dispiriting saga.

Comments

2 Responses to “Davidar speaks out in his own defence”
  1. Alex says:

    OK, now he’s in trouble. I don’t think the “consensual, flirtatious relationship” defence is going to fly. Not when it’s between an employer and an employee.

  2. Kerry Clare says:

    The whole defence was totally gross. Davidar has just convicted himself of being a first degree creep.