Toronto Star columnist gets dragged by blaming woman for boyfriend's death threats
A certain Toronto Star writer is getting a bunch of pushback for a recently published advice column that partially blames a woman for her boyfriend's death threats.
Ellie Tesher, of the Ask Ellie column, is getting dragged all over social media right now for the response she's given a woman that claims her boyfriend has never forgiven her infidelity and has threatened to kill her multiple times.
An Ask Ellie column in which she complacently informed a letter writer that her cheating 'created the situation' in which her partner threatened to kill her multiple times, one of which involved a gun to her head.— Butterflyminder, keeper of fluttery thoughts (@Butterflyminder) August 24, 2022
"My partner has said he'll never forgive me for my infidelity. He's repeatedly told me that he hates me, and has threatened to kill me multiple times. He even pointed a gun towards my head and threatened to shoot. Is this anger warranted because of my cheating," reads the beginning of the woman's letter to Ellie.
"I'd been cheating throughout the entire course of the relationship until I got caught. I've since apologized several times for lying and cheating. However, he continues with murderous behaviour towards me. What more can I do to stop his threats, besides apologizing?”
The column appeared online some hours ago and has since been "updated" by The Star for "inappropriately suggesting the letter-write shared the blame for her abuse."
I'm so glad you raised this! Her response is DANGEROUS! There are so many people who are experts in supporting victims of DV, and it's not the kind of subject for which you just wanna wing it. I'm wondering how the @TorontoStar allowed this column to reach the public. Yikes.— Marc Hollin (@marchollin) August 24, 2022
But as with everything that gets shared on the interweb, nothing can fully be erased. Thus, a number of screenshots of the original column have been shared on social media.
Uhhh, Ask Ellie at the Toronto Star just said a woman who had her boyfriend repeatedly point a gun at her and threaten to murder her, essentially, deserved it?? pic.twitter.com/4HMZybH42v— ℳatt (@matttomic) August 24, 2022
The original response directed the writer to report the threats to police and take precautions to remain safe, but then took a more victim-blaming turn.
"Meanwhile, your own careless cheating throughout what you call 'a relationship' was deplorable, and led to this frightening situation," read the removed response.
"Wherever you got the idea that you could play loose and careless with a relationship 'partner's' pride and emotions, recognize the danger in which you've placed yourself."
The column appeared on a number of Torstar owned websites as well like the Waterloo Chronicle.
The Toronto Star has deleted a tweet of an advice column that inappropriately suggested a letter-writer shared the blame for her abuse. The content did not reflect our editorial standards. We regret that the article was published and shared in its original form.— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) August 24, 2022
Editors have since scrubbed the article of these particularly terrible paragraphs but seem to have forgotten "Ellie's tip of the day", which still appears on the column.
"Never trifle with a partner's pride and certain anger over cheating. Especially if they have a ready weapon," it reads.
The new column repeatedly tells the woman to seek police attention, file a report and to ask for police help and advice.
But on Ellie's own website, her original piece is still up without any edits or removals.
In just the last hour, many have called for Tesher's firing and subsequent apology. Others believe that the column was allowed to be published and missed crucial copyediting stages due to lack of resources.
In May, it was announced that Tesher's daughter Lisi would co-write the advice column with her. This particular column has Ellie's byline but, a note at the end of the story reads "Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto."
It is unknown if this specific column was written by both Tesher's or just Ellie.
Either way, it's never a good idea or look to blame someone's behaviour (even if they are cheating) as a reasonable response to murder threats.
In Canada, violent deaths against woman dramatically increased during the last two years. According to the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses, 58 femicides occurred between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 in Ontario.
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