John Abbott College denies allegations by Sun News commentator Ezra Levant that David Suzuki requested female-only bodyguards for his visit to the college last October.
Levant lashed out at the environmentalist this week during his controversial week-day show The Source, saying Suzuki had requested female-only “escorts” for his visit and that his request bordered on “creepy”. Levant also called Suzuki a ”hypocrite” for accepting a $30,000 speaker’s fee for the appearance while at the same time speaking out against rampant consumerism.
Levant said he got his information from emails he said were written by John Abbott officials about Suzuki’s visit. He said he obtained the emails through access-to-information requests.
The statement issued by the college on Wednesday reads: “To set the record straight regarding Dr. David Suzuki’s visit to our campus October 24, both male and female students escorted him throughout a full day and evening of activities in order to facilitate his movements throughout our campus. Those students, all of whom were chosen for their professionalism, were part of our Police Technology program.
“There was no rider in (Suzuki’s) contract specifying the gender or dress code of those assisting him throughout the day. The negative comments and innuendoes made are demeaning to those students and to the college and are the result of the misinterpretation of emails exchanged between colleagues.”
The statement said Suzuki’s fee was in line with his full day of activities, which included a speech before 1,600 students, streamed live on the Internet to 13,000 students at schools in the Lester B. Pearson School Board and followed by a question-and-answer period, his appearance at the official opening of the campus’ Science and Health Technologies Building and his keynote speech given during a gala fundraiser that evening, attended by the college foundation’s benefactors.