A rising senior at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, is suing his college newspaper following his termination for expressing Catholic doctrine on social media.
On June 9, 2020, the editor-in-chief of The Eyeopener, a student-led newspaper at Ryerson University, emailed part-time reporter Jonathan Bradley detailing how his Catholic views on sexuality made him ineligible to write for the publication. Bradley had made comments about what the Bible says about sexuality and transgenderism. He dubbed both a “sin.”
According to email correspondence obtained by The Daily Wire, Editor-in-Chief Catherine Abes terminated Bradley for allegedly creating an “unsafe” space for student journalists by expressing Catholic views online.
“Recently, The Eyeopener’s Twitter was tagged in a thread involving screenshots of a conversation in which you defended the notion that homosexuality as well as being transgender is considered a sin,” the email reads. “I fear that since you’ve made your opinion public, members of our community, especially queer, trans, and non-binary folks, would no longer feel safe if you are associated with the publication.”
Bradley is now suing the publication for alleged discrimination. In a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Daily Wire, Bradley’s legal representation calls his termination “a dangerous precedent.”
“It is illegal discrimination for an employer to punish an individual on the basis of that individual sharing his or her legal and permissible creed in other forums,” the lawsuit reads. “Allowing the respondent to discriminate on this basis would set a dangerous precedent for all employees who hold and share a particular creed.”
Bradley began working at The Eyeopener his freshman year while he was studying journalism. The student wrote for a range of publications including The Post Millennial, The Toronto Star, and The National Post, among other school publications.
During his sophomore year in 2018, Bradley said he began to notice that a large portion of the Eyeopener staff was intolerant and hostile toward conservative and religious viewpoints. When Bradley wished to express more “controversial” views, he opted to write them for other publications.
On March 2, 2020, Bradley wrote an opinion piece bashing the office of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the right-of-center publication The Post Millennial. The article called for the removal of all equity, diversity, and inclusion offices at Canadian universities.
The following day, Bradley was approached by two Eyeopener editors who told him that other staff supported diversity, equity, and inclusion offices. The editors were worried that Bradley’s presence would make the publication an “unsafe” space for other journalists. Bradley was not allowed to attend “pub night,” which is the organization’s weekly dinner compensation.
Following the article, Bradley was told by an editor that he could no longer write about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at The Eyeopener. He was welcome to discuss his views elsewhere, though the editor said that he may be uninvited from “pub nights.”
“So, it’s not that you can’t write whatever opinion you want,” the editor said in a recorded call. “It’s that if you do write an opinion piece along those lines or even at all for the Post Millennial, I’ll likely tell you hey, maybe skip dinner this week.”
The Eyeopener is familiar with controversial reporting. At one point the publication published an article promoting the slogan “F**k you, Ford,” directed at conservative Canadian Premier Doug Ford. Another article was titled, “Doug Ford Doesn’t Give A F**k About The Arts.”
Bradley directed all comments to his legal representation, who noted that the litigation is being pursued in court.