A Decade Long Campaign to Obliterate Me Has Nearly Killed Me

I’ve got so many stories.

It’s time need to set my own straight.

After sitting down and writing it out, I knew I wanted to share it with you. 

I’ll warn you beforehand that this is a long read. 15 minutes, according to the internet. I tried to cut it back, but it’s been a long ten years.

Preamble

I expect nothing will change, anywhere or in any way after I publish this, nor am I motivated by the idea

I want nothing other than to tell my story and then be free to define the next chapter of my life the way I want to, on my terms. 

I’m at peace with my story, no matter the retaliatory measures I’m threatened or punished with in response. I really don’t have much left to take away, so fill your boots. I fully expect the online rage directed at me on a daily basis will get worse.

I’m under no illusions that my story will hit the same way in Saskatchewan as others have all over North America. I don’t care.

This is my story. I’m allowed to tell it. If you chose to insert yourself into my life in a way that doesn’t make you look good, that’s not my problem. It’s not my job to protect you from yourself.

My story can be corroborated by any number of people, but I’m not asking any of them to do it. I don’t expect or want anyone to do something that could tear their life apart like mine has been.

People across Saskatchewan, perhaps even you, think they know me because of how I’ve been framed, deliberately and maliciously, by a campaign of bullying I’ve struggled under for over ten years, puppet-mastered by the most powerful man in Saskatchewan.

Rest assured, you know nothing about me.

I’ve spoke out about this abuse numerous times over the years, but I’ve never taken a deep dive into my whole story, analyzed it and laid it out the way I have other Saskatchewan sagas.

This is the story of the campaign of harassment, led by John Gormley and perpetuated by Mike Couros and Lise Merle, that has continuously, steadily degraded my life for over ten years.

Over the past six years particularly, Gormley has wielded his extraordinary power to systematically and thoroughly brand me from his platforms online, on the radio and in backrooms across Saskatchewan as crazy, a troublemaker, unlikeable, unpleasant, incompetent, unsuccessful and stupid.

Tell me, would somebody please, what I’ve done to deserve the experience I’m about to tell you about?

What power I’ve had over the last ten years to stop this? 

Power that didn’t involve me shutting up, changing my message, or going away altogether?

Show me an example of when I have had power to control this situation that is remotely equivalent to that of John Gormley..

You can’t. 

Those most desperate to paint this as something I deserved or brought on myself cannot answer the questions of what I did or could have done to make it stop, because the answer doesn’t fit their narrative.

After ten years, however, the pattern is undeniable. I am struggling, hard, to cope with the enormity of what’s happened to me, especially when considered on the whole.

I have been, in comparison to John Gormley, completely powerless to make this stop in any manner that didn’t involve vanishing altogether. The fact I refused to do so exacerbated the harassment and has been held up by Gormley and his lap dogs as evidence that I was getting what I deserved. 

She likes it. 

She’s asking for it.

I’m exhausted.

I really don’t want them to win.

Background

I quit producing the John Gormley Live show in 2011.

When I started in 2007, Gormley had already been through more producers than he had years on the air. 

I had no political or media experience.

I had to ask my mom the night before I started there to remind me again which party was “the left”. My mom is an apolitical Jehovah’s Witness who has never voted. She still knew more than me about politics.

Yes, I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. I lived in a completely closed society for about eighteen years, wherein we were actively discouraged from participating in anything secular, including pop culture, post-secondary education and politics. 

I rebelled and moved to England, where I advanced rapidly. The digital marketing firm where I had my first temporary work placement hired me immediately and after I advanced as far as I could, I was poached to another where I did the same.

I moved back to a province of amazing people but an economy and government that was as stagnant as its CFL team. I had a Palm Pilot (Google it) in England. Nobody in Saskatchewan had a cell phone. My experience in London didn’t even resonate given most Saskatchewan businesses didn’t have websites.

I got married and had my oldest son, who was four years old the year I started working with John Gormley. He graduated from high school last year.

This harassment campaign has defined my experience as a Mom.

My god, the time I’ve wasted on – the mental energy – dealing with this. I will never forgive these people for what they’ve taken away from my boys, but hurting the people around me has been the point.

After the baby I went to university but eventually couldn’t afford it and had to quit before graduating. I ended up working in a bullpen moving sea containers of potash or grass seed from Saskatchewan to China, India or wherever.

Someone told me to email John Gormley for advice. It was weird because I didn’t know him, but I was desperate as a woman at twenty-nine, which already felt ancient, and would do anything to get my career back on track. He knew that because I told him that.

His solution was that I should come work for him.

I was so excited and happy, even though I felt like such an imposter… but I was determined to learn and prove myself. 

Any employee at Rawlco who tells you they didn’t know what went on while I was there is lying. 

That’s not really what we’re talking about today.

When I was hired, I was told that Gormley wanted a producer with a background completely and totally disconnected from media and politics. John Gormley knew when he met me that I was a blank slate, because that’s why he hired me.

I was plucked out of obscurity and tossed into the viper pit of Saskatchewan politics, completely naive, for him to mold, use and shape as he saw fit.

He did. 

I learned everything I know from the master.

What I went through was inexcusable. Rawlco Radio management knew I was getting sicker the longer I stayed, which today is still longer than any producer John has ever had.

I’d Do It My Way, As Long As It Was His

“You’re not here to change John’s mind, you’re here to support his mind,” said the news director on my first day.

It was great advice and what I did: fully immersed myself in Gormley ideology. Hated the NDP and labour and would have followed Brad Wall anywhere. It was the only way to survive.

A short time before I quit, I had a meeting with Rawlco Radio’s programming director. I sat sobbing as he screamed in my face:

“He’s GORMLEY. He’s NEVER GOING TO CHANGE!” 

I’ll never forget it. Today I can still see his face, hear his insane screaming in my head and feel the droplets of spit flying out of his mouth. It was a defining moment in my media career and my life. Not a good one.

My choice was stay and suck it up, or go. So I went.

When I was preparing to leave, I refused to be one of those producers who got a job from the Sask Party through Gormley. By then I had seen enough to be concerned about what and how the show was influencing democracy in the province.

Before I quit, I applied through proper channels for a comms role with the Saskatchewan government. I was interviewed by Brad Wall’s childhood bestie who was playing Angry Birds when I arrived and continued to do so through the interview. He spoke at length of how little work he did, how little work was done in the office and how overqualified I was. 

I didn’t get the job. 

I figured if I’d put up with John Gormley for four years and still couldn’t get a job with the Sask Party, it was time to go. 

I quit Rawlco. I left the show and company quietly, on what I considered to be good terms.

Today, I have not seen or spoken to John Gormley in-person since 2011.

I learned later the government job I applied for was preordained, only advertised to satisfy the union. 

The Beginning Was the End

I started my first blog after my last day on the show. I called it Scene in Saskatchewan and it was going focus on local media and Saskatchewan culture. 

I had appeared on Gormley’s show somewhat regularly over four years, usually as his foil. Nine times out of ten his audience would tear me apart. That was the end game and I agreed to play it.

After creating the blog Gormley immediately made it obvious he wasn’t going to support me. He refused to acknowledge it on the show and used my content without crediting it. He was hostile when I reached out, so I stopped.

Kate McMillan ran one of the original hardcore right-wing hate mongering websites, Small Dead Animals. She, Michael (Mike) Couros (who contributed to her website) and Gormley were close.

About a month after I left Gormley’s show, Kate posted on her site suggesting I was suicidal because I had agreed to manage a federal Liberal campaign. 

Not only that, but a Liberal campaign for openly, proudly gay city councillor Darren Hill, who Gormley also hates and has been taking shots at from his show since the day he was elected sixteen years ago. Darren was the only public figure I had been friends with long before I worked at Rawlco.

Couros, who is Gormley’s best friend and sometimes fill-in host for Rawlco, then spread the link to the post on Twitter, trolling me about how my career was over. 

I know these dates because there’s a record of them, believe it or not.

When I said “The Greek” I was trying to pushback a bit, as in ’I know who you are so stop’. I figured he’d take the hint and leave me alone.

Lol.

I kept blogging, but in 2011 couldn’t filter comments and I couldn’t unsee what was being piled on my site. Anonymous commenters would ignore my content, state that they’d listened to me on Gormley then tear my body or appearance apart.

It was bizarre and awful and in 2011 not as common, I would argue, for women as it is now. I felt really alone.

I also got accidentally pregnant in 2011 (being a woman is fun!) with our second son. Throughout my pregnancy, the online aggression continued. I was confused and stressed about why I was being shit on. My son was born In October 2011, two months early, and stayed in NICU at Royal University Hospital for ten weeks.

I couldn’t hack it and shut down that first blog. I remained active on social media, mainly Twitter, which is where my political viewpoints began publicly evolving. 

Mike Couros started harassing me online six weeks after I left the show in March 2011 and never stopped. At the time I knew the anonymous social media accounts were his because Gormley showed them to me while I worked there.

This is Mike Couros a full six years later, in a message thread I have read and have a copy of but am not posting – there’s no doubt who he’s referring to.

Circa 2018. I’m so sorry for being so inconvenient for you, Mike. Is there somewhere I can send a card?

Perhaps he was referring to what Eric Olauson went through. Olauson’s Sask Party campaign in 2016 was managed by… Mike Couros.

On October 7, 2015 and Stephen Harper made a campaign stop in Saskatoon. After seeing the photos, I tweeted something about Saskatoon-based elected officials wearing a number of political hats. This included Olauson, who was a Saskatoon city councilor and a nominated Sask Party candidate attending a federal conservative political rally. It was a totally fair comment.

Olauson saw the Tweet and announced in front of a number of people that he was going to “call my boss” (that would’ve been me) and “make sure she never works again.” Just out loud. Like that’s totally normal.

Those words got back to me within minutes of it being uttered: Olauson was going to try to take food out of my kids’ mouths.

Olauson won and became a Sask Party MLA but apparently didn’t get the memo on stripping misogyny and calls to violence from his Facebook page, which sure sounds like an Eric problem and not anyone else’s.

The media got ahold of his Facebook a few months after he won. That sure sounds like something Eric Olauson put himself through.

Poor Eric. He probably even had to sell his ticket to the 2017 Boys’ Lunch Out, held a few months later.

It’s not my fault Eric Olauson was that unprofessional and stupid, nor was it my fault he was terrible MLA and didn’t get re-elected.

Facts don’t seem to matter to Mike, whose sole mission was exactly what he has admitted it is.

Like John Gormley, I haven’t seen or spoken to Mike Couros in-person since 2011.

The Worst Person I Have Ever Met In My Life

Surprise – she’s also Mike Couros’s bestie!

In 2011 I also had the misfortune of developing a friendship with a woman named Lise Merle.

Gormley’s infatuation with her began right around the same time I left the show, when Lise live-Tweeted a salacious, private conversation she was eavesdropping on at a restaurant. 

She was witty and funny on the air. I liked her and reached out to see if she wanted to have coffee. She did.

I still don’t know why Lise turned on me, but it was with a rapid and brute force that I’ll never forget. We had been chatting on the phone the day before and everything was was fine. Then she sent an email overnight, each paragraph a more vile, vicious assault on my character than the last.

Reading it became another one of those moments you don’t forget. I remember where I was, even the lighting in the room as a stomach-dropping, nauseating chill ran through my body as it absorbed the force of the hate in her words. 

She made it very clear she wanted nothing to do with me. Let me tell you something babe, even despite everything, thank god for that.

Since then, I’ve learned I was likely one of the first, but definitely not the last to experience Lise.

It occurred to me later on that Lise may have spoken to Gormley about me before writing that email. She and I were talking about working together in communications, even had clients waiting to sign up. Clearly her email ended that.

Not long after that, Gormley gave her a weekly slot on his show

Ten years ago John Gormley, Lise Merle and Mike Couros became and as far as I know remain great friends.

Today she’s banned from many social media platforms, but over the full ten years since I last spoke to her still surfaces, anonymously or otherwise to attack me and others. As recently as last year she included references to me in this disturbing and bizarre video she recorded in November 2021, connected to Gormley and an event she was attending.

Like John Gormley AND Mike Couros, I haven’t seen or spoken to Lise Merle since 2011.

Again this was ten years later, November 2021:

I know how this one’s going to end.

As sure as the sun will set tonight, Lise Merle will turn on John Gormley and Mike Couros. When she does, it will be… something.

Karma’s A Bitch

By 2008, Gormley had been going after former NDP MLA and Saskatoon city councillor Pat Lorje for years.

She was an elected official and  public figure so criticism was fair game. But everyone knows there was no good reason for Gormley’s fixation on Lorje, which I can corroborate based on what I witnessed. She was an easy target. Plenty of people could have stopped it but did not either because they thought it was funny or that she deserved it. 

I deeply regret the role I played in perpetuating broadcast or online harassment against any private citizen, or public figure, unfairly and deliberately during my time at Rawlco Radio, 

When it comes to Pat, I am aware of the karma I’m experiencing. Trust me, I believe in it now.

In 2008 Lorje was one of two municipal representatives on the board of Wanuskewin. After the CEO was fired, it was determined that Lorje would temporarily step off the board and take on the role of interim CEO.

How dare they – didn’t they know John Gormley hated her?

Gormley lost his shit. It was affront to his power.

How dare the board of directors appoint Pat Lorje to a position of authority when he’d spent a significant amount of time on the air educating everyone on how incompetent she was? Did they not listen?

He went on-air claiming Lorje grifted a job by first volunteering for it, with the intent of landing a paid position that she didn’t deserve and shouldn’t have been paid to do.

Lorje sued Gormley for that one. 

Almost exactly ten years later, Gormley would go on-air claiming I grifted a job by first volunteering for it, with the intent of landing a paid position that I didn’t deserve and shouldn’t have been paid to do.

He was ecstatic. I heard all about the strategy, including draining finances by dragging out the suit and/or countersuing. He couldn’t have been more thrilled. I know how it ended but it’s not my story – let’s just says it’s stunning and also very typical.

Watching that Lorje dumpster fire burn is one of the main reasons I’ve never sued him: he wants me too.

Blame Me For Bronwyn Eyre

In 2015 I dared help her win her Sask Party nomination for Stonebridge Dakota. 

I had discovered, credibly, that an active campaign was being ran against her spearheaded by Gormley, Couros and Don Morgan. The reasons I heard for doing it sounded like everything to do with her gender and nothing to do with her competencies.

So I called her. She had no idea she was aggressively being shut out by the most powerful men in the party.

During her nomination period I was active on social media, criticizing the other candidate for his awkward politics including his flipflop from the NDP, where he had agreed to run before the Sask Party.

I’ve spoken to the other candidate since. We’re good. It’s politics.

Bronwyn told me that after she won, Sask Party’s executive director Patrick Bundrock approached her right at the meeting and said something like, “Tell Tammy to tone it down.” 

That was that little man’s big concern that night.

At that time, all I had was a Twitter account with a couple thousand followers to adjust for tone to meet Patrick Bundrock’s high standards. I mean, this is the man who “my sources” said vandalized his own headquarters as a campaign strategy, so not quite sure what he had in mind for me that night. Compared to Gormley I was nobody and Bronwyn worked really hard to win on her own merits, but Bundrock still had to put me in my place. 

Gormley, Wall and the Sask Party establishment were furious. The morning after Bronwyn won and his candidate lost was the first time (that I know of) that Gormley referred to me as “crazy” on-air. 

Sometimes he didn’t use my name, because he knew full well what he was doing was wrong. He also knew he’d established me enough as his on-air target that it didn’t matter if he named me, because enough people listening would know who I was that his words would have the desired effect.

Afterwards the woman who today is Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice wrote a letter to Rawlco to complain about the way Gormley talked about me that morning, in which she stated it was abundantly clear who John was referencing and why. His point was not just to smear me, it was to discredit her win as not deserved.

Are we seeing a pattern here yet?

Anyone?

I mean, I’ve had to check a couple times, but this has definitely all played right out in front of everyone, right?

The same people who have watched and enjoyed this kind of nonsense with John Gormley for decades wail about everyone being “so angry.”

Yeah, just a little.

A few months after Bronwyn’s nomination kerfuffle, I was hired by a Sask Party candidate to run his provincial election campaign. Right away, Patrick Bundrock was at it again, telling the candidate to fire me. 

I was devastated, frustrated and humiliated. I sent a text to Brad Wall saying as much. 

I didn’t even expect Brad to answer. Not only did he shoot me a quick note back with some kind words, he dealt with it. I had a text from Bundrock that evening asking me if I would like a role on the “central campaign”. 

Yep. It’s been such a head f**k. I can’t even.

Anyway, a day or two later I met Sask Party czar Joe Donlevy for a coffee at Saskatoon’s 2nd Avenue Grill, where he blew a bunch more smoke up my ass. Then I never heard from either of them again.

Brad Wall is the only man from that cohort who stood up for me, ever. I know you’re listening, so please know that politics aside, I am still grateful to you for that. It meant a lot to me then and still does now. Those are the moments I’ve held on to. 

Duck and Cover

I am very good at what I do, but haven’t been able to promote or post testimonies to my work from clients for years, for fear Gormley would go after them.

Did you know that from 2011 to 2018 I was the longest serving regional publicist in Canada contracted to work for Ford Motor Company Ltd? I gained knowledge of and practised incredible grassroots campaign strategies because I was working under the same firm that managed Barack Obama’s US presidential campaign.

As the years passed and the damage began to set in, I have let anyone walk away from me who needed to in order to protect themselves, no matter what it cost me. Gormley’s crusade has impacted every aspect of my life. I have lost friends, jobs, relationships and the ability to manage my career or my life like I wanted to.

It has impacted my family members in their personal lives and workplaces. It has shaped virtually every one of my relationships over the past ten years, because they all had to be carved out in a way that posed the least threat from Gormley for both of us.

I kept going.

I started my second blog (the one you’re on right now) right before the 2016 election, specifically to write about corruption at the GTH. At the time the GTH story had just broke and despite it being one of the biggest political scandals in Saskatchewan history, it was only being reported by CBC, because media in this province can be a petty bunch which has hurt no one but their audiences.

But I digress.

The GTH was a massive red flag that once upon a time, in a land with an efficient and healthy Opposition party and robust pool of journalists, would never have passed the smell test with Saskatchewan voters. In its themes of greed, coverup and corruption were strong indicators of the direction in which the Sask Party was moving.

I could see it clearly and when combined with an Opposition NDP in a death-spiral and a rapidly shrinking number of reporters in the province, it really worried me.

I daresay six years later I wasn’t, like, totally off-base.

My life since I started OurSask.ca has been a living hell (and I’m not just talking about it never being “nice” enough for Trent Wotherspoon’s delicate sensibilities).

Everything ramped up. Gormley has seized any opportunity to strike.

For example, he and Mike Couros publicly and privately placed responsibility directly on me for the blowback on the 2017 Boys Lunch Out (that’ll make sense in a minute). I became the prime target of their male audiences, already outraged that they were losing another privilege, who went into a frenzy.

John Gormley has referred to me degradingly and constantly for years on-air or online as a “so-called communications consultant” or other similarly derogatory professional titles. It’s been ten years of a constant, dedicated campaign of false and inflammatory attacks on my character, my professionalism, my experience, my skillsets and personality.

Trying to defend myself made it worse. If I reacted with any emotion, which I freely admit I did regularly for a while because this has placed tremendous strain on them and at times they were hard to manage. That’s on me.. Gormley would gleefully dangle my response as evidence of my instability.

But I kept blogging and working. I kept levelling fair, heavily-researched and fact-based criticism at the Sask Party. My style is sharp and not for everyone. I was doing something right, though, because my posts were regularly earning 20,000 unique visitors. By the end of 2016 I was writing political commentary on Saskatchewan for Maclean’s magazine… which again made things worse.

I dared criticize Brad Wall. I predicted his pending departure in one of my columns, then did a ton of national media when he resigned literally a couple months later. Gormley and Couros couldn’t handle it.

Boys Lunch Out

In 2017 the all-male Saskatoon charity club who call themselves “The Progress Club” (lol) held their last “Boys Lunch Out.”

The #MeToo movement was raging in the States. Sexist, abusive assholes on television and radio networks were dropping like flies due to their historical behaviour towards women in the workplace.

Today it still hasn’t landed in Saskatchewan, but it will. Like everything else, we are years behind the curve and there are powerful men all over this province with behaviour to hide who know it.

This one started when photos and a CBC story emerged of coltish young “models” skittering around TCU Place in G-strings, lingerie and high heels. The all-male audience, comprised of hundreds of Saskatchewan businessmen, ate lunch and howled at Tits and Ass…as they had been doing in Saskatoon under the Progress Club banner ever year for thirty-five years, despite being asked repeatedly by various local professional women to stop, I’ve since learned.

(BTW: the Boys Lunch Out was the sole reason Brad Wall walked back his position on strippers lol.)

In 2017 when the Lunch story and photos emerged, Saskatchewan people were pissed, especially women who were trying their best to work as fully-clothed and fully-respected professionals with the men in that audience. 

Many women shared their thoughts on the Luncheon on social media, myself included, though I didnt even write a blog post about it.

Mike Couros is a member of the Progress Club and was one of the lead organizers of the Boys Luncheon.

When the story broke, Mike (who eventually deleted his Twitter account in disgrace in December 2021, after being called out for his actions online on the anniversary of the Polytech massacre) threw down hard, vocally and passionately defending his precious Lunch Out. Gormley did the same from his show. 

Both held me up as the target for their troll armies’ rage. I guess Jason Warick from the CBC, who actually wrote the story, wasn’t as easy to galvanize against. 

Despite Mike and Gormley’s best efforts, the Progress Club ended their heartwarming tradition. I wonder if the Club grasps the fact that its final flagship event was emceed by a woman whose only claim to fame, ever, has been recording a universally-panned YouTube video called “This Is Why You’re Fat”, that I can’t link to because like the Lunch, it doesn’t exist either anymore and neither does she.

Such great judgment all around.

Despite it being a CBC story and I was a private citizen responding to it like everyone else, Couros was livid and blamed me wholly for all of it. Behind the scenes he was raging about me. He was frightening me at this point. 

I wasn’t the only one who was concerned.

After the Lunch Out debacle, Couros was still trashing me so hard and often in Progress Club meetings and events that multiple sources have confirmed he was told unequivocally that enough was enough and he wasn’t to utter my name again in their meetings. 

It was also around this time that the @notTammyR Twitter account was launched and remains popular with all kinds of Saskatchewan residents today.

My “Broncos Grift”

Those are the words Gormley used publicly just six months ago, in front of at least one lawyer, to describe the show he did about me in November 2018 attacking me for four hours straight. 

I can’t link to any of Rawlco and “journalist” Sarah Mills “work” on this because it all seems to disappeared. Huh.

This is a decent story that breaks down what happened, including information on the company we eventually hired and with whom I worked. It also points out that I’d been a target of Gormley’s in the past. The only issue I have with the story is where it states I said “I wouldn’t take a penny” and later clarified, which isn’t true. They should have included the entire Tweet, in which I said three days after the crash I wouldn’t take a penny, but in the same Tweet I also said that was going to change and I would be part of the change.

The context was super important and Gormley deliberately excluded it. He wasn’t even running a smear job on me over an entire Tweet – he had to even manipulate that to meet his needs.

That day topic centred on Gormley’s patented “she volunteered”-narrative.

The fact I was given a high-level role was an affront to his power.

How dare the board of directors appoint Tammy Robert to a position when he’d spent a significant amount of time on the air educating everyone on how incompetent she is? Did they not listen? Or was he just not powerful enough?

Lise Merle’s husband is from Humboldt, Saskatchewan. 

Until 2018 I knew what she was doing and saying about me offline, which was off the charts levels of disturbing from a woman who hadn’t seen or spoke to me at that point for seven years.

Mike Couros is also from Humboldt.

In the years since that show, I’ve had people from the area come forward about both Lise and Mike’s vigorous, dishonest attempts to generate animosity against me in the community.

I had no idea at the time. I should have though.

About a month after the crash, May 2018, Mike Couros phoned the mayor of Humboldt to tell him to make sure the Broncos fired me, the gist of it being the team would regret working with me.

At the time the Broncos and I were beyond overwhelmed with the crisis but overall had a good working relationship. I tried to explain the campaign of harassment orchestrated by John Gormley and Mike Couros was clearly escalating. 

That was the first attempt I knew of to directly sabotage my livelihood.

I am eternally grateful to the Broncos’ directors who supported me.

Then-Humboldt mayor Rob Muensch refused to look me in the eye for the rest of my time in Humboldt. He’s never thanked me or acknowledged me for anything, ever. 

Gormley went on to make further attempts to have me fired from the Broncos’ gig, but offline, cornering directors and making wild claims about things he’d heard I’d said or done. In fact, CJME and failed conservative talk show host herself, Sarah Mills, has played a key role in Gormley’s attacks about Humboldt.

What kind of professional female journalist does that to another woman?

It didn’t work. The Broncos’ didn’t regret hiring me.

Couros and Gormley were wrong and there was no way that could stand.

So Mike and Lise started smearing me right in Humboldt. Apparently there were a few different, totally made-up Terrible Things About Tammy stories that they were trying to force but didn’t stick. However because they did, Gormley technically could go on-air and claim “his sources” told him that people in the community were saying Terrible Things About Tammy.

Yes, you’re reading that right.

Gormley, Couros and Merle worked together to whip up rumours in Humboldt about me and my work after the bus crash, then Gormley talked about it on the radio, pretending he was arms-length and he wasn’t actually the one who made up the lie he was telling.

After putting everything together of I’ve learned since, I can tell you with confidence that Gormley, Couros and Merle created a story about me and then Gormley took it the radio show claiming it came from “his sources”. 

It’s shockingly fraudulent broadcasting. Rawlco knew it. Everyone knew it. He should have been taken off the air.

The day before the show he had been ranting on Twitter about how much money I supposedly made on that job. He shared outrageous, inflated numbers online, crowing that it all went to me. 

This was false.

Again, I earned $45,000 doing that work. 

Someone told him he was wrong, which is when he was forced to pivot to me having “grifted” the job by first volunteering. It was a quick and easy pivot in 2018 to a smear he knew well, because it’s the exact same smear he’d used on another woman he hated in 2008. 

Four days later Gormley put the Broncos’ president Jamie Brockman on the air. He stated clearly that the only place he’d heard anything of what John was on about was on Gormley’s show. Gormley, who had already received pushback for weaponizing the deaths of sixteen people to promote his agenda, sounded like a fool, spluttering and stuttering to get the interview over with as soon as possible.

He knew how bad it was for him.

It was too late for me though. The damage was done. The online frenzy was unreal. I still get harassed about that show by Gormley’s followers every single day. 

After that show I quit blogging, again.

Then I tried to commit suicide. Crazy is as crazy does, right?

(I’m totally ok today and that’s all I’m prepared to say about it.)

It’s Kind Of a Blur

My plan didn’t work and I needed to earn money. I’m a single mom and solely support my home. 

In mid-2018 Gormley had been attacking one of my clients, a law firm (in case you were wondering how far he’d go) from his show. They had hired me to do some very simple communications work, including writing FAQs and scripts for their reception desk.

Gormley got wind of it and went on air with some bizarre tall tale of how I’d tried to get Gerald Stanley’s lawyer fired, which had nothing to do with anything I was working on.

Remember, John Gormley’s sole purpose has been framing me as a troublemaker – to frame me as unhinged and a problem.

Put simply, I’m not.

I am a good and kind person and a solid professional, which is why he’s been desperately lying about me for years.

John just can’t seem finish me and boy does that piss him off.

The idea that I was somehow involved with the partners was absurd and completely false. When I finally did hear about it, the lawyer who told me said,

“Gormley is not just going to keep going after you, he’s going to keep going after the people around you.”

The attack involving the Humboldt Broncos came down a few months later

I had to make a plan in 2019 to keep my clients secret, being honest with them that it was to protect them from John Gormley. I couldn’t advertise or post endorsements of my work at all for fear of what Gormley would do to the business.

I kept a handful of loyal clients, but his strategy of going after the people around me worked perfectly. 

I suddenly wasn’t invited to parties, but privately and one-on-one so many people, from my friends to sitting city councillors to current and former media personalities and politicians from left and right spectrums would come to me and in hushed tones, express remorse for all of it.

Then they would go smile and shake the hands of Gormley and everyone enabling him, like they’d never even met me.

You bet I’m angry.

Eventually I drew lines in the sand with my relationships, clients and friends – you listened to, associated with, advertised on or otherwise engaged whatsoever with any of these people and you were cut out of my life. 

I thought after I stopped blogging in spring of 2019 it would stop. 

It didn’t.

Covid shut down consulting for pretty much all of us, so in December 2020 I took a full-time, stable job at a Saskatchewan union’s head office. I thought I would be safe there. The organization knew about the harassment I experienced and we had a plan. They promised to protect me from it and that it wouldn’t impact my standing with the organization.

My divorce was also ongoing in 2021 and I was moving back to my maiden name.

In fall 2021 Gormley told his listeners to Google me and my workplace. 

He implied that I was changing my surname because I’m such a bad person that I need to hide my identity.

Gormley knows my parents and my sisters – he knew it was my maiden name. 

As soon as he said it, my phone started ringing.

Guess who?

The front desk had to shut down the phones and cut off my direct line. I never took a call at my desk again. Contacts had to leave a name and number with reception so I could screen it.

I left that job the not long after that. I knew my job would be red meat for Gormley and things would get worse and it would become a burden on my colleagues. I didn’t want to deal with it there anymore. Ultimately I wasn’t ready for labour and labour wasn’t ready for me so I left after a year.

I never did re-establish a direct line to my desk.

That particular episode generated a whole bunch of CRTC complaints from Saskatchewan residents. The meeting in which he used “Broncos grift”  in front of a lawyer and others was right around that time too. 

As far as I’m aware, he hasn’t uttered my name on air since then, or for a whopping six months. 

It’s Not Better 

It’s made it worse and kind of the reason I’m publishing today.

Waiting just feels like I’ve been tied to the tracks for longer than normal, biding my time until I get hit by the next freight train. Cause that’s what my life has become. I walk around every day bracing for an assault. For my phone to blow up because he’s said something online or on the air. 

I have been diagnosed with PTSD twice related to John Gormley, once after I left the show and once after the Broncos’ attack he coordinated with Couros and Merle in November 2018.

Again I needed income. In April 2022 I started a Substack and it’s going gangbusters. I have an amazing army of supporters online and IRL. I love every one of you.

Predictably, Gormley’s making moves that he’s coming after me again.

As of last Friday. Gormley thinks this is still a good look for him.

He’s never going to stop.

This time I don’t want to quit writing. I’m a good writer and there is a dearth of factual, fair dialogue in Saskatchewan today. There is a market for what I do and I deserve to be able to do it. 

Look around right now. Saskatchewan is sick.

Maybe a couple more Tammys and a few less redneck assholes being held up and promoted wouldn’t be the worst thing ever.

As he complains about in his Tweet above, Dickson is blocked because every time he Tweeted about me some of the worst of the worst men on Twitter – AKA his audience – would swarm my account with pictures and jokes about my body, farm animals, rape and other misogynistic tropes.

That, Dickson, you knew already.

I know your schtick is you’re dumb as shit, and trust, we believe you. But you knew what you were doing then with your dog-whistles and you still do it.

You see it in his hand-wringing in the screenshot above. My god, can you hear the violin? Did someone do a wellness check after he wrote it? He’s also stonecold lying, because that’s what these guys have to keep the rage alive about me. They have nothing else.

In no world did I ever slag a 9-year-old girl on Twitter. Instead, I pointed that the 9-year-old girl whose parents have her all over social media are giving their agenda way by inexplicably blocking half of Saskatchewan on it, including me. I said there was zero reason for a purported 9-year-old to be both simultaneously held up by elected officials and corporations alike as a Saskatchewan mascot while she’s apparently also sending political messages at people her parents don’t agree with.

I think the whole thing is so bush league and makes rural Saskatchewan, particularly its farmers, look pathetic. Weak.

Dickson pumps out content created deliberately, without research, facts and bordering on misinformation, in a manner that positions Saskatchewan on the national stage as ignorant and uneducated.

Dickson’s work compliments their own political schemes with the added bonus of in comparison to that guy, they look smarter. That’s why he is held up as the authority by John Gormley and all his buddies, including the premier of Saskatchewan, on our province, on governance, on the environment and on agriculture.

I wonder where my career would be if I had been promoted by the same people. Or even if they had just left me alone.

Imagine, for a moment, where I could be if I didn’t have John Gormley’s – Dickson’s biggest fan – boot on my forehead.

Yet I guarantee that fool Dickson thinks he’s made it thanks to his charm and talent.

I am not suggesting I should be free from fair public criticism, especially in response to my own public comments. I am very often very critical of Saskatchewan politician, currently including but certainly not limited to Carla Beck.

I have every right.

Um, have I been wrong about the NDP? Was literally anyone else acknowledging the problem and is the NDP any better after ten years for pretending there wasn’t one?

If Beck wanted to better understand my perspective on her leadership, she knows where to find me. If put out a Tweet that isn’t welcome, her and her supporters know where to find me and often do. Most of the time we engage respectfully about it, on or offline. Beck can ignore my valid criticism all day long, that’s her right.

I am not the one punching down on any of these people.

I have no power over Carla Beck, John Gormley, Mike Couros or anyone else besides myself and my two kids, sorta, given one of them just turned eighteen.

I have a voice. That’s it.

I welcome discussion. I want to know when you think I’m wrong. I want to be challenged and to keep evolving. 

Fairly. 

If Gormley wanted to have me on the air to discuss anything at any point over the last ten years he could have asked. Despite the volume of time he has spent on me on his show, he’s never asked me to join it to give me a chance to defend myself. For shows like he did in November, where we wanted to go on to defend ourselves, he refused to allow it. He was lying, he had to refuse.

Yet he brags publicly about how he’s got a fat “file” on me. He wants me to sue him so he can be a victim, which he’s started posing as lately, then break me a third time.

I’ve noticed that new strategy everywhere, coming from men, particularly D-list male celebrities, who have realized how many lines they’ve crossed in their past and are now trying to scramble back. They’re painting themselves as victims and it’s actually pretty funny. It’s so much projection and an extremely obvious attempt at damage control.

Couros recently even claimed he had contacted a lawyer because he was being treated so badly online.

Says the man who quit Twitter in disgrace four months later after his online behaviour was called out and then promoted by hundreds of accounts as akin to that which prompted the Montreal Polytech Massacre.

Just an idiot.

I have been wrong, repeatedly and made plenty of mistakes in my personal and professional life. So have you.

We all leave a trail of impressions, heartache and damaged relationships behind us as we forge ahead in this life. Some of them are worse than others. Hopefully you’ve sprinkled some joy in there too. 

For every negative trait he’s accused me of, I’m sure someone can and does procure a story about some interaction with me to corroborate it. That’s what we call “selection bias” and I’m sure fucking tired of it defining who I am.

That’s what happens when you live in a prison built around you by other people: you lose complete control of the ability and freedom to manage your life.

Everyone’s got a past. Everyone has had run-ins with other people. 

No one else has had John Gormley claiming and controlling theirs for fifteen years. 

Multi-millionaire, twenty-year broadcaster and former elected MP John Gormley, sitting up on his well-paid perch, giving his buddy Scott Moe his marching orders while manipulating the government and wielding power off-air, is not a victim of Tammy Robert. 

If Gormley denies he does not do those things, he is lying. Hundreds of people at this point have witnessed it.

It is an open secret how much power John Gormley had inside the Sask Party, over Brad Wall and Scott Moe.

Today John Gormley has been a public figure in Saskatchewan for forty years. For many of those years he not only had the show but a newspaper column, because why not saturate the f**k outta this place, right? 

Gormley has gone out of his way to accumulate power over this province and the people in it. The fact Moe’s entire Cabinet shrugs journalists off to hold news conferences from Gormley’s show is unbelievable. He is the voice of the Saskatchewan government and the Sask Party. Yet Gormley doesn’t seem to understand to this day that he is not untouchable. He cannot keep suing and bullying and berating people into doing things his way forever. His gig is going to be up eventually.

He is not the only voice in the province, nor should he be. My god, imagine if there was more than one conservative talk show in Saskatchewan? Alberta’s got dozens and only four times as many people. The monopoly over the genre he’s had in Saskatchewan should probably be studied by both journalism students and the CRTC.

John Gormley is delusional if he thinks he won’t be held accountable for his mega-influence over literally every corner of Saskatchewan, for over twenty years. There hasn’t been a decision made by the Sask Party that he has not personally influenced – don’t get me started on essential service legislation or school boards (AKA ‘bunch of stupid lefties who can’t manage money’) and education property tax rates.

The extraordinary privilege, power and wealth Gormley has accumulated as a public figure with undeniable links to government officials, both in Saskatchewan and Alberta, is absolutely fair game for discussion between private citizens wherever they want, including public forums. His show and his words will be studied and brought up for generations in relation to this period in Saskatchewan’s history. His influence, his behaviour and after he’s dead, his secrets, will all be fair game and they will be played.

You chose that John. Not me.

I can’t compete with the power of the people determined to destroy me. 

I can’t leave Saskatchewan.

A second woman left the Gormley show in 2020 after growing increasingly concerned about his right wing extremism. She decompressed and publicly evolved away from conservatism and affiliation with his show.

Like clockwork, Gormley himself has started mocking her on-air, expertly teeing her up for his audience to start swinging at. Couros did the same on social media. They know what they’re doing and they’re really good at it by now.

They give themselves away with their material. Gormley and Merle were closer to this other woman for far longer and know way more about her personal life than mine. I haven’t seen spoken to any of them for a decade.  As a result, the material they harass her with centres around her personal life, while the material they use on me is based on my present-day Tweets or other current activities.

Epilogue, Maybe

There are a million people in Saskatchewan. That’s the reason this can happen here, where our two degrees of separation makes it easier and even more toxic to tear people apart. Gormley et al take full advantage of our claustrophobic reality because he helped create it.

Don’t think this can’t happen to you or someone you love.

In any other jurisdiction the fact a provincial radio show – the only talk radio show in the province, ever – has so much power and is so intertwined with a political party would be news. That’s not going to happen here. The Saskatchewan media has probably been the closest observer of what Gormley has done not just to me and countless others, but to their own reputations.

There are reporters in Saskatchewan waiting to cover #MeToo the way reporters have across the world have for years already. #MeToo hasn’t even happened in Saskatchewan. We are constantly years behind the curve on social movements. National media doesn’t care about Saskatchewan and its measly population either.

Yet there is a massive market, IMO, for alternative media within our tiny underserved provincial population. I have incredible supporters and I don’t want to abandon them.

But, I just told you a very clear story of ten years of public harassment I’ve experienced at the hands of the same individuals, led by the same man, using the same methods and strategies over and over again.

Do you understand what all this does to a person’s mind after a while?

Do you know what it’s like to be hated to the extent that it alters the course of your life? 

Spoiler alert: you don’t.

This has destroyed numerous relationships in my life. It has destroyed swaths of my career. The pressure and stress of each attack and then waiting for the next one drives my mental health into the ground. My physical health is deteriorated repeatedly from the stress this has caused. Again, that’s their point.

God knows I haven’t been perfect. I have made massive mistakes with my own brand and image, despite being damn good at carving out and managing other people’s. 

I have reacted. 

Oh, how I have reacted. 

Time and again I’ve been worn down and reacted poorly online. 

After ten years, I am so angry. Pretty much all the time. 

This week I confronted my recent history because I was so convinced I must be a bad person. I know I’m opinionated and outspoken on a lot of political issues, but I thought surely there something more than that out there for me to deserve this. I went back and read my entire OurSask blog, searching for offensive material. I downloaded my entire Twitter history and read that too, looking for those moments.

There weren’t any.

In fact, I came out of the experience liking myself more. 

Like I have my whole life on so many fronts, I figured I must have deserved being treated like this.

I didn’t.

I wasn’t wrong, in fact I was often prescient. There were times I used profanity when I wished I hadn’t. There were times I was obnoxious and wish I hadn’t been, but nothing to the extent of what I’ve just laid out led me to believe I had. 

I was so relieved.

Then I burst into tears that haven’t really stopped since.

Because I hate myself.

I’ve been denying myself credit, in fact berating myself, for the work I’ve done and life I lived for fifteen years. I struggle to introduce myself to new people because I’m afraid they’ll be one of his listeners. I walk around on edge and just prefer at this point to be alone.

I’ve never been contacted and/or told that I posted or Tweeted misinformation. 

I’ve got a unique perspective on Saskatchewan politics because of experiences exactly like what I’ve just described. I have insights that I believe are valid and maybe even helpful. I try to use facts and quotes. I avoid promoting speculation.

I have never had to publicly or formally issue an apology for something I’ve said or did.

I’ve never had to change or alter facts on a single original post, or remove one.

In the same period of time, how many of Saskatchewan’s vulnerable and minority groups has Gormley had to apologize to?

You’d have to be pretty stupid to believe you’ve not been listening to 20 hours a week of conservative and government propaganda pumped directly in Saskatchewan homes, hearts and minds. 

When considered on the whole, the extent to which John Gormley had had and abused power over me is breathtaking. 

Today I am a private citizen. 

A Substack newsletter does not put me in the category of public figure. Talking about public figures in public does not make you a public figure. My Twitter account is not equivalent to a radio show.

Now let’s pretend I have been a public figure, which Gormley has claimed I am as part of the whole “she deserved it” defence.

What did I do as a public figure?

There are no answers besides, “Well, uh…your Tweets.”….“You said ‘fuck’ on the internet.”…“You criticized the Sask Party and sometimes you weren’t nice enough.”…“You put your name and your face to your opinions, instead of running anonymous accounts and harassing people nearly to death.”

Seriously?

What public figure anywhere has had to live with something like this, undefended and unable to defend themselves, for ten years?

This is my story and it is the truth, though I’ve no doubt there will be plenty of those who will do whatever they can, including lie, to discredit it. More than used to it.

All I ask is that if you’ve already passed judgment on me, I want you to review why. 

Have you met me? Have we spent time together or worked together? Have you read my work to judge its merit? Have you attempted to discuss my opinions with me? Is an anecdote you heard about me true and do you know that for a fact? If it is, is it really indicative of an entire person’s character, or did it just reinforce something you already thought? Who’d you talk about me with and why? Where did you get your information to form an opinion?

Or, is what you think of me today really just rooted in what’s been spewing out of John Gormley’s power-crazed gob and regurgitated by some of Saskatchewan’s tiny population for the last decade? 

If the answer is the latter, I’m asking you to put that aside and at least understand you have no idea who I am. 

This piece is dedicated to the people who do.

To those who have stayed by my side, have been unwaveringly loyal and did what you could to help me.  To those who I turned to because they knew me in real life, which is really all that matters, in the darkest moments of questioning who I was and what I was worth. 

You know who are you. I love you guys and am so grateful.


Aug 4: Just a note to say I appreciate this is not a perfect draft, that has some spelling and grammar errors and the timeline crosses itself a couple times. I don’t care. I could have edited it for weeks but I needed to just let it go and made a pact with myself to not keep editing. So that’s… that.

Also I LOVE your comments and passion and support… but please don’t be offended if I don’t publish them. I’ve got to err on the side of caution, but please know I’ve read every comment and appreciate every one of them and you.

7 thoughts on “A Decade Long Campaign to Obliterate Me Has Nearly Killed Me

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  1. I am here to bear witness. I knew of Tammy from her time working for Rawlco, I was a listener, and met her – and became friends with her – in 2012 when she helped shine media light on my own blog and journey through brain cancer. I have watched from the sidelines as the story told here played out over the last decade, with too little to offer in the way of support beyond an ear and a shoulder. Tammy has not imagined this, and does not deserve it. And it’s not ok. – Alix Hayden

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Tammy, thank you for all the hard work you do. It is very appreciated. I’m sorry about what continues to happen to you here in response to your valuable work. It’s not right. It’s frankly obvious how disproportionate the response is to you versus male journalists, obviously due to significant misogyny, but also because you know things these people do not want to be made public. Their own mental health is so decrepit they lash out with nothing but cruelty: they’re “crazy”, they have mental health problems, they have control issues. You are not and never were the problem.

    Know that people are with you and working toward changing this absurd, oppressive, corrupt status quo.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. This story saddens me and enrages me beyond words. I will not and have never listened to the unhinged vitriol of Rawlco radio.
    I will continue to read and support you as best I can

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never liked Gormley. I only catch pieces of his shows when I’m staying with my aunt in Saskatoon. Hearing what that blowhard has done to you tells me I was right to never like him. He and his pals could give David Misgavich and The Scientology Church a few lessons. Reading this reminded me alot of watching Leah Remini’s TV show and reading her book. I used to be so proud to be from the easiest drawn, hardest spelt province in Canada. But hearing we have our own version of David Misgavich, I am really getting disappointed in my province and my country 😢

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so angry that these people have done this to anyone. As of right now I’ve told my family no more Gormley and no more Rawlco. I will not support them since they obviously catered to this and were more interested in money than in having a backbone and standing up for what is right.

    I hope you do manage to get some peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry to hear about all of this BS you had to deal with Tammy. Thanks for telling your side. I too was puzzled why he did what he did during the time shortly after the Humboldt Bronco’s bus crash. I didn’t believe it’s okay to go after a former employee like that. I’m also puzzled why it’s only you he’s gone after considering how many other former JG producer’s have worked for him. There must have been some fun times working there, not always about local SK politics. JG recently turned 65. Retirement isn’t far off for him.

    Like

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