Open letter to the Ottawa Citizen

We sent the following letter to the Ottawa Citizen on March 30th but they chose not to publish it.

“We are appalled by the Citizen’s recent coverage of serious allegations made by local women against JJ Clarke. As a coalition of groups working to end violence against women in Ottawa, it is very disheartening to see blatantly biased reporting of a case involving seven counts of criminal harassment – allegations so serious that the Ottawa Police Service felt compelled to remove Clarke’s access to firearms. Rather than recognizing the severity of the charges, the Citizen chose to print a sympathetic portrait of a man struggling with his mental health. We understand the need for compassion towards those who struggle with addictions but we cannot downplay the serious allegations made against him. What message do you think it sends when the city’s newspaper of record calls a man accused of multiple counts of violence against women as “Ottawa’s favourite weatherman”, replete with a flattering photoshoot of the accused? There was no analysis provided of the severity of his charges, no experts interviewed nor was there mention of the anguish those who reported him must be experiencing. Gary Dimmock took a story of multiple counts of violence against women and made the accused appear to be the victim. We expect better.”

  – Signed Hollaback! Ottawa, Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) and Women in Safer Environments (WISE).

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