Carpenter faces a $15 million lawsuit for criticizing sexual harassment comments in the Architecture podcast


Two men running the famous construction industry podcast made comments about meowing and trying to catch women. They filed a $15 million defamation lawsuit against a carpenter who criticized the comments on social media.

These offensive remarks were made on a podcast in Toronto Building life, Which claims to reveal the “good, bad and ugly” part of the industry, with the goal of improving the industry.

Episode 145 of the podcast-host Manny Neves and regular guest Jim Caruk of the show talk to Danny the plumber-included in the release on May 8 The following exchanges:

“Today’s situation is different. For example, if you saw a sexy woman in the street when we were 20, you would whistle. You even look at them today. There are police behind you and they are charging you. This is true. What happened today is ridiculous,” Danny said.

“I still whistle,” Karuk replied.

“Yes, but…” someone said before Neves asked, “Do you still whistle?”

“I still whistle,” Karuk said.

“I might reach out, you know, try to reach out [inaudible],” Danny added.

Manny Neves, yes, nearly 150 episodes of architectural life have been produced. The show is broadcast as a podcast, but many episodes (such as this one) are also posted on YouTube and other platforms. (Architectural Life/YouTube)

The man laughed when he finished speaking. You can hear someone say, “I won’t…”, and then weakened.

CBC News did not release Danny’s full name because he was not involved in legal proceedings.

The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario High Court on May 28, alleging that Neves and Caruk “disagreed or condoned these comments.”

After Natasha Fritz, the owner of Natural Carpentry, filed a complaint, the section was removed from the podcast on May 14.

Litigation alleges damage to reputation and business damage

Despite the lawsuit claiming that Fritz made an “important point” and apologized to her via e-mail, Neves, Karuk and Candelaria Pictures are now suing her, demanding a total of $15,250,000 in damages because she An edited version of the transaction was posted on her Instagram page. Place comments next to unattributed statistics about sexual harassment and assault. Fritz’s edited version repeats a lot of audio-especially “I still whistle”-but does not change any words. The man’s laughter was also played many times.

Neither party in the lawsuit will agree to be interviewed by CBC News, on the grounds that the ongoing lawsuit has not yet been tested in court.

CBC News had a brief conversation with Fritz. Fritz provided some files and recordings of the original podcast, and then stated that she could no longer comment because of the lawsuit.

Among other things, the men’s lawsuit alleges that Fritz’s criticism on social media amounts to “inciting harassment and widespread hatred” online.

It claimed that Fritz’s posts damaged their reputation, business, and physical and mental health. The lawsuit also argues that the “views and opinions expressed by guests” in the podcast do not reflect the views of the people who produced it.

Neves has produced nearly 150 episodes of shows and broadcast them on various platforms. At the same time, Karuk appeared in many TV shows, including several HGTV series.One episode Building life Call him the “Godfather of Architecture”.

Some comments that curse cats are reserved in the podcast

The current podcast still contains comments about harassment, including an anecdote about a staff member calling Caruk’s “important other half” when she ran through the workplace. Karuk said that she was not angry with the comments made by the outside world about her appearance, while other men thought it should be regarded as a kind of “praise.”

After that, Neves said: “I was told in the early days that the difference between sexual harassment and flirting is whether you find the other person attractive,” which caused more laughter among the men.

“Am I going to annoy a group of people now?” Neves finished.

Jim Caruk is a frequent guest of The Construction Life podcast and also appeared in many TV shows related to renovations. (YouTube)

CBC News asked Neves and Caruk through their lawyers why they did not remove all comments about sexual harassment from the podcast.

Rob Moubarak, a lawyer in Vaughan, north of Toronto, Ontario, said in an email that he could not comment.

At the same time, Fritz has not yet submitted a defense statement at this time. The lawsuit stated that she told these people on May 28, the day after receiving the suspension and termination letter, that if they publicly apologized, she would only delete her post.

“The plaintiff stated that this was the first time that Ms. Fritz made such a request, which is unreasonable in this case,” the suit stated.

Comments are degrading, inhumane, experts say

Farah Khan, manager of Ryerson University’s “Consent Priority” project and the Toronto Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, said these comments were simply inappropriate.

“Just because the circumstances were different at the time does not mean they were good,” she said, referring to comments on the construction industry on a podcast 20 years ago.

Khan said this is especially problematic when those who claim to be industry leaders reinforce negative stereotypes of construction workers.

Farrah Khan, manager of the Ryerson University’s “Consent Priority” project and the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, shown in 2018, stated that women should be able to walk through construction sites without being harassed. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

“What are they talking about: That’s just part of your job-what kind of behavior should you do? I don’t think so.”

Khan said these comments could also hurt many women who work in male-dominated industries. (Statistics Canada data in 2018 shows that in the past decade, only 3.7% of the 934,000 people working in the industrial, electrical, and construction industries were women.)

“Even if these comments are not directed at you…someone is talking about the body of a woman who doesn’t belong to you, but about what they want to do with it,” Khan said.

She said that the result is degrading and dehumanizing.

“What you said to that man is: I think of you the same way. I think of all women the same way.”

Online criticism in the case center, including hashtags

Fritz did not immediately post the offensive audio clip on her social media channel.

Instead, here is what is claimed in the document introduced in the claim statement, which is confirmed by information obtained by CBC News:

When Fritz heard the podcast, she sent a message directly to Neves on Instagram, flagging offensive comments, and asking the show to explain why they had problems. Neves stated that he was open to this and wrote: “It is a pleasure to let you participate in the show and discuss this issue.”

Toronto has no shortage of construction sites and few female workers. Statistics Canada’s 2018 data shows that in the past ten years, only 3.7% of the 934,000 people working in the industrial, electrical and construction industries were women. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Fritz was one of the first guests on the earlier podcast.

Neves and Caruk held two conference calls, but none of them called Fritz. In the lawsuit, these people said they missed the meeting because of “unavoidable and unexpected schedule conflicts.”

Neves also sent an e-mail to Fritz, stating that he and Karuk “decided not to record shows about sexual harassment.”

The email continued to apologize for offending Fritz. Neves also wrote: “Building life Podcasts have never offended anyone, but if someone asks a question, we will listen, review the problem and solve it. Having said that, our program may not be suitable for everyone. “

Then he again proposed to hold a conference call in the next few weeks. Fritz said she was no longer interested.

A few days later, Fritz posted her Instagram post.The post did not name these people or their companies, but at least one person was named in the comments Building lifeThe post is embedded as follows:

Fritz participated in some of these comments, leaving a statement like this: “I really hope they can be responsible to themselves, obviously they don’t want to do this”, “I have more to say to those who say they want to improve the industry. Expect much.”

The man’s suit stated that Fritz’s post was intended to “manipulate the narrative.” They also highlighted her use of hashtags #misogynymondays, #sexualharassment, #didimissthejoke and #itsnotfunny.

Fritz also posted a similar post on her locked TikTok account.

The lawsuit stated that her Instagram video was viewed 2,645 times and had 79 comments. When CBC News checked on Monday, the number was 2,889 views and 84 comments.

“Explosion” in the number of defamation lawsuits: lawyers

Toronto Stockwoods LLP’s lawyer Andrea Gonsalves, who specializes in defamation cases, said that the scale of the lawsuit will increase its scrutiny. She said that most Canadian cases are between US$2 million and US$3 million.

Goncalves said that defamation cases based on people’s social media comments are “exploding.”

“We have to take a step back and remember that defamation laws are quite old,” she said, noting that the rules in this book predate social media.

Goncalves said that in general, Canadians have the right to protect their reputation. However, they also have the right to express themselves freely-including through online debates.

So, just as the law provides extensive protections for podcasters to conduct extensive conversations, it also provides the same extensive protections for potential critics, she said.

Gonsalves said that at this point, it is too early to know what will happen in the case, adding that lawyers like her will pay close attention to the outcome.



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