More on the Bob Garfield firing

I wrote a few days ago about long-time co-host of the public radio show On The Media for ‘bullying’. He issued a statement on Twitter saying that he had been fired not for “bullying, per se but for yelling in 5 meeting over 20 years” and that “the provocations were just shocking. In time the story will emerge and it is tragic.”

So I listened on Friday to the first show after the firing. Co-host Brooke Gladstone spent a couple of minutes at the beginning about the case.

She said that she could not fully reveal all that transpired, presumably because of legal reasons. But she did say that Garfield had been fired after warnings and other efforts at amelioration for a pattern of bullying behavior that went well beyond yelling on five occasions, and that the entire staff agreed with the decision to fire him. That looks bad.

This puzzles me. I had been surprised by this since he seemed to be a genial presence on air. He also seemed to have positive views on social issues and struck me as the kind of person who would be sensitive to issues of bullying or other forms of aggressive and intimidating behavior towards subordinates.

So why did he behave this way, even after being warned in 2020 and receiving other forms of feedback that his behavior was not appropriate? Could he just not control himself? Did he so lack self-awareness that he was deluding himself that he was acting appropriately? Or did he, as sadly is often the case, think that he was too important to the enterprise that they could not function without him and thus that the rules did not apply to him?

Whichever it is, it does not reflect well on him.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    I don’t think arseholes ever realize they are arseholes.

    Years ago, there was a local TV fitness show hosted by an attractive young couple. Both seemed charming, funny and good-humoured. I happened to be walking through a park one day, when I saw them preparing to shoot a segment on skateboarding or something outdoorsy. It took seconds to see and hear that the guy was a complete douchebag and a bully.

  2. says

    “Speaking of public broadcasting personalities: Charlie Rose….”

    Also Ellen Degeneres who let her workplace become incredibly toxic (though it’s less her behaviour and more her letting the toxic people thrive).

  3. jrkrideau says

    @ 3 Tabby Lavalamp
    And let us not omit our reviered CBC which seems to have let a few big names get away with a lot. The Q host comes to mind.

  4. says

    Another radio host walked off the job last week, Matt Siegel of Boston. He threw a snit fit and walked off the job because his employer told him he would not be allowed to insult Demi Lovato on air after they came out as Non-Binary.

    Siegel did the usual whining about “freeze peach” and “being cancelled” and claimed that “he was fired” despite the fact that he quit. He couldn’t grasp that he was an employed entertainer, not speaking as a private individual. Many in the corporate media also erroneously (no doubt intentionally) reported him as “fired”.

    The next day, he returned to his job, likely because he wants the money. So much for “believing in your principles”, as if he has any.

  5. Miyataguy says

    Did it ever occur to anyone that Bob’s outbursts might have genuinely been provoked by the idiocy of others at the discussion table? It does happen, btw. IMHO, Sometimes idiots deserve a good shouting at. Finally, the hyper-woke, virtue-signaling hot mess OTM has descended into after Bob’s departure seems to indicate his oversight was a primary reason for the formerly excellent content of OTM. These days, I generally turn OTM off well before it ends. I don’t like being told what to think.

  6. Lisa m says

    For me otm has not been the same since bob Garfield left. His perspective was invaluable to the other side at times. There were hints of problems between the hosts beginning with bobs genuine reaction to the election of trump
    Brooke didn’t get on board for awhile. There was a memorable public spat
    I loved them both but they were better together
    Otm made the wrong move

  7. M. Hill says

    On the Media was great with Bob, and it remains great without him.

    Also: “idiocy” is thinking that ones outbursts are justified in reaction to anything short of physical threat.

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