by Irvin Muchnick
John Furlong — the Irish-Canadian face of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and a superpatriot brand in his adopted country — continues to enjoy a Teflon run on the abuse allegations uncovered by writer Laura Robinson. The absence of scrutiny of this oily figure goes to show that major-media deference to the Olympics mystique extends throughout North America. And that state of affairs will not improve with Furlong now advocating for a bid by Calgary to host the 2026 Winter Games.
An exception to the rule is Michael Stewart of the well-named site rabble.ca. Here’s part of what Stewart wrote, almost exactly a year ago, at http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/michael-stewart/2015/04/medias-responses-to-jian-ghomeshi-and-john-furlong-expos%C3%A9s-ar#.VvnBr2XtILo.twitter:
“[T]he Canadian media’s reportage on this story is astonishing. [Jesse] Brown’s Canadaland podcast has done some excellent work in castigating the media for absolving Furlong while parroting his slander and denigration of Robinson. Virtually every mainstream media outlet in the country repeated Furlong’s interpretation of these events without deviation.
The Globe published an editorial by Gary Mason, who co-wrote Furlong’s biography Patriot Hearts, titled ‘Former Olympics CEO Furlong now in the clear, but the damage is done.’ The Vancouver Sun, in an unsigned editorial, bellowed ‘John Furlong’s false accusers should suffer consequences‘ and repeats Furlong’s contention that his name should now be cleared. Maclean’s, The National Post, Huffington Post all joined in the exoneration refrain.
John Furlong is a liar. I don’t know what happened in Burns Lake under Furlong’s watch — but as Brown says in a recent podcast — ‘I don’t know how you get 45 people to make false allegations.’ We do know, however, that Furlong lied, on several occasions, about the date he came to Canada. He wilfully omitted his time at Burns Lake whenever he was asked to give biographical accounts. He claimed that Robinson approached the RCMP with criminal allegations against him even though he had no knowledge of that happening (which, in fact, it did not). In a recent interview, Paul Wells admitted he had put ‘a little asterisk next to Furlong’s name in his head after hearing him misrepresent a heated encounter with a La Presse reporter during the Olympics.”