by Kevin Engstrom
A new lawsuit claims the CBC took the word of convicted con artists willing to unfairly accuse Peter Nygard of acting inappropriately with a woman, even though she swore his innocence.
The defamation case, filed Tuesday, is the latest in a long line of civil and even criminal suits brought forward by the fashion designer against the CBC in the wake of an unflattering Fifth Estate documentary about him that aired in April 2010. The suit also names Fifth Estate host Bob McKeown, as well as CBC employees David Studer, Morris Karp, and Timothy Sawa.
According to the statement of claim, Nygard says the state broadcaster defamed him by implying he engaged “in inappropriate conduct with a woman, a woman who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic.”
According to the suit, the CBC were provided a notarized statement a day before the documentary aired from the woman, who stated nothing untoward happened when she visited Nygard Cay. Nygard’s then-girlfriend has also stated the fashion designer was with her in his private cabana every night the supposed victim was at the resort, as has his personal bodyguard.
The documentary noted none of those things when it aired the next day. Instead, it included a segment where McKeown referred to the woman as a “special package” brought to Nygard Cay in 2003 to help celebrate the fashion designer’s birthday. Soon after, convicted con artists Allan and Michelle May, two former Nygard employees, made statements on air which Nygard claims were false.
“The words … are untrue and defamatory of Nygard in their natural and ordinary meaning, in the innuendoes contained therein, and in the context of the entire Fifth Estate program, including the manner, tone, and presentation,” the lawsuit states.
“They were meant and were understood to mean that Nygard had lured the woman to his residence under false pretences, Nygard had acted inappropriately toward the woman, Nygard had sexually assaulted the woman, and Nygard had committed a criminal act.”
Months after the documentary aired, Nyard’s private investigator, a former Scotland Yard detective, gave a sworn statement claiming he had been told CBC investigators had found the woman in the Dominican Republic prior to the documentary’s broadcast, but did not attempt to interview her.
Nygard is seeking damages.
A spokesman for the CBC, Chuck Thompson, declined comment.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
STATE BROADCASTER INVOLVED IN SEVERAL CASES
If you think Peter Nygard suing the CBC sounds like a story you’ve heard already, there’s a reason for that.
Nygard and his Winnipeg-based company, Nygard International, has launched several suits against the state broadcaster and the journalists primarily responsible for Larger than Life, the April 2010 Fifth Estate documentary that was highly critical of the clothing manufacturer.
Nygard caught wind of CBC’s plans to air the documentary months before it aired and filed a lawsuit in response, alleging the CBC induced and conspired with Nygard employees to breach their confidentiality agreements by being interviewed for it.
In the two years since the documentary aired, Nygard has launched a number of other suits in Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas.
The criminal suit, which includes sworn testimony from a Scotland Yard detective who worked undercover for Nygard in the Bahamas shortly after the documentary aired, claims the CBC conspired with enemies of Nygard to discredit him.
Those people include billionaire Louis Bacon, Nygard’s former next-door neighbour in the Bahamas, and Allan and Michelle May, two oft-convicted con artists repeatedly quoted in the documentary.
None of the allegations of that case, which is still making its way through the courts, have been proven.