Canadian broadcaster suing man after "relentless campaign of harassment”

Mar 28 2023, 12:00 am

Prominent broadcaster Jody Vance is suing an online harasser who recently agreed to a plea deal for criminal harassment but received 12 months probation — a sentence that’s been deemed “a slap on the wrist” on social media.

Just days before she filed a civil claim filed in BC Supreme Court she told Daily Hive the justice system let her down.

“There’s no justice here,” the radio and TV host said.

Vance is currently co-hosting Steele and Vance, but has previously hosted shows on CKNW Radio, CBC, and Al-Jazeera. She also covered the Stanley Cup finals in 2010-2011.

On Thursday, she formally filed the claim with social media expert Jesse Miller who was a guest she interviewed against the defendant, Richard Sean Oliver.

According to the notice of civil claim, Oliver “engaged in an ongoing and relentless campaign of harassment, infliction of mental suffering, invasion of privacy and defamation of the plaintiff, Jody Vance” from March 2020 to September 2021.

Examples listed reference emails sent when the pandemic started in 2020, criticizing her coverage of COVID-19-related stories.

“Abuse included threats and intimidation, including but not limited to words such as ‘build a bunker’, ‘the hell you morons are going to pay when this is over is going to be biblical,’ ‘we know who all of you are, you will be imprisoned soon’,” the suit reads amid describing the harassment Vance received. “And images such as inserting an image of Vance in a photograph of a concentration camp and another of Vance manipulated to be wearing a communist flag.”

After Vance interviewed Miller about the anti-science and anti-mask movement, when she was filling in for Lynda Steele on CKNW, the claim reads Oliver sent the two a threatening and harassing “in a malicious and harassing effort to upset both Vance and Miller and disrupt the program.”

After she warned Oliver that she would contact police, Vance reached out to the Vancouver Police Department when the abuse escalated. According to the suit, the harasser made mentions of Vance’s son.

However, after police were involved, the harassment did not end.

“Vance advised the VPD that she feared for herself and her family.”

The plaintiffs continued to be harassed up until around the time police arrested the defendant in late September.

During Oliver’s court hearing, in her impact statement, Vance said the harassment forced her to deny many invitations to professional and charity events, her “bread and butter as a freelance journalist,” over concerns for her safety.

According to the suit, the abuse Miller faced caused him to “fear for his safety and wellbeing and the safety of his family, defamed him and invaded his private life.”

Vance and Miller are seeking relief sought in general, aggravated and punitive damages as well as special costs the court may seem just.

Nikitha MartinsNikitha Martins

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