Olympics spokesperson testifies at John Furlong's defamation trial

John Furlong via Shutterstock

The woman who handled media relations for the 2010 Olympics took the stand Wednesday at John Furlong’s defamation trial.

Renee Smith-Valade says Laura Robinson, the freelance journalist suing Furlong, wrote negative stories about Olympic organizers that were never balanced.

She says her first memory of involved a media scrum in which Robinson accused her of being a “pretty face” and made derogatory comments about men.

Smith-Valade says Robinson’s 2012 article accusing Furlong of child abuse contained errors, including claims he tried to hide his past as a teacher in Burns Lake from VANOC employees.

In April 2013, she says Robinson gave her a letter after an awkward encounter on a plane and she was “stunned” to read unproven claims that Furlong had abused dozens of children, including one who later committed suicide.

Smith-Valade, who is now Furlong’s partner, says she immediately handed that letter, inviting her to be an off-the-record source, over to his lawyers.

Robinson is suing Furlong, arguing he accused her of going after him in a personal vendetta, and not for journalism.

Furlong has repeatedly denied all claims of child abuse.


Originally published on CKNW.com

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