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White Lies: A Pack of Lies, or How the CBC Ripped Off My Story

Posted by E on February 23, 2015

CBC logo Elisa backcover

In 1998, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) released a movie based on my life titled White Lies, which starred Sarah Polley.

The film producer and script writer, Dennis Foon, collected as many details of my actual life as he could based on trial testimony, newspaper clippings and interviews I’d given in the media, and then decided to produce a movie script inspired in large part by what had happened to me while I was a teenager.

Trouble was, although my experiences were appropriated for the story, I never received any credit or compensation.

So how did this sordid saga begin?

Hategan documentary VisionTVIn 1993 I was a 16-year old who was recruited into the ranks of Canada’s most dangerous (and notorious) white supremacist group, the Heritage Front. I was the only girl in the core of the movement, and was subsequently groomed for a leadership position. I began writing articles for their far-right publication, Up Front, spoke at rallies and even participated in talk shows on their behalf, such as my appearance on the Montel Williams show alongside White Aryan Resistance leader John Metzger.

I was still sixteen years old when I was introduced to notorious worldwide Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel, who welcomed me into his townhouse on Carlton Street in Toronto. As an abused, impoverished, often runaway teenager, I didn’t have a home to go to or a family to care for me, and this is where Zundel stepped in and became a grandfatherly figure to me, while simultaneously teaching me that Jews controlled the world, the Holocaust never happened, and Hitler (whose portraits hung from the walls of his home) was invariably right to eliminate the mentally and physically handicapped, the homosexuals, and of course the Jews.

By the time I turned 17, one of the Heritage Front’s leaders, Grant Bristow (later revealed to be a CSIS agent) started what would become known as the It Campaign – a campaign of terror waged against anti-racist and community organizers who stood up in protests against the Heritage Front. Bristow single-handedly instructed dangerous white supremacists tips and tricks of the intelligence community – how to break into answering machines, impersonate reporters, stalk your victims and terrorize them, threaten and disguise oneself to avoid arrest. The emboldened skinheads went out and continued the harassment with vicious street attacks, beatings, physical and sexual attacks, car-tire slashings, as well as spray-painting / firebombings of places in the community such as synagogues, bookstores, and even the home of a well-known Kitchener-area activist and member of the CJC.

I knew I had to get away from the Front’s escalation of terror. This realization came on the heels of me admitting to myself that I was gay. However, as a core insider I had a lot of information I could access, and had earned the trust of the HF leaders as well as Ernst Zundel himself, for whom I worked as an assistant and errand-girl.

So I turned to the other side, spied on my former friends for 4 months, stole Zundel’s international mailing list, turned whatever information I could to police, and defected. In March 1994 I testified against Wolfgang Droege and 2 other white supremacists in the court of law and sent them to jail for the summer.

Although my info had resulted in convictions and I had been threatened with death, I was denied Witness Protection, while Grant Bristow – the CSIS agent whose years of building up the racist empire in Canada had resulted in ZERO arrests and convictions – was retired in the Witness Protection Program and given a brand new house, two cars, a retirement package worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.


I spent a couple of years in hiding all over Canada, sleeping on sofas, floors and dumpster-diving for food before I finally got my GED and was accepted into the University of Ottawa (from where I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1999 with a double major in Criminology and Psychology).

While still in hiding and going by a different name in Ottawa (they knew me there as Kat), the CBC was making a movie behind my back. A movie they advertised on their own DVD/VHS covers as a “True Story” – supposedly based on the “true story” of another ex-Heritage Front member, Elizabeth Moore.

WhiteLies SPWhite Lies UK cover

I tracked down Elizabeth two years ago, after she messaged me through my website – she’s going by her married name now – and we became friends. She’s a nice person actually, a woman who bears no resemblance to the old Elizabeth who was featured (along with me) in Hearts of Hate. She confessed that the CBC had paid her $12,000 to be a consultant on the movie, and that they based it on her. She told me that Dennis Foon, the writer, had helped her get an agent to negotiate with CBC on her behalf.

I thought I had seen the film, but back in the 1990s I was suffering from PTSD issues and I realize now that I must have only seen a commercial for it. No matter – it was unavailable now anyway, out of print and besides, I didn’t really want to revisit that part of my life or Elizabeth’s. So I let the whole issue go, although a nagging thought at the back of my mind told me that I should really see the film and their interpretation of what had really happened.

And then, voila! last week I found it on YouTube, uploaded by a girl named Brittany and chopped into 10 parts. I watched it closely, with a growing sense of horror, as I realized – for the first time – that the CBC hadn’t actually adapted Elizabeth’s story but my own.

The only things Elizabeth and Sarah Polley’s character ‘Catherine Chapman’ seemed to have in common was a nice, middle-class girl background. Oh, and the fact that Elizabeth had actually dated skinheads back then, while I did not (obviously, because I was a lesbian).

The story of Elizabeth-as-Catherine quickly lost credibility as the movie progressed. Her acceptance by a thinly-veiled Ernst Zundel (played by Lynn Redgrave), who puts her to work for him and grooms her as the new face of the movement, was actually my own experience. Elizabeth never worked for Ernst. I did. She was never the “new face of the movement.” These facts were stated about me over and over in newspaper articles throughout 1992-1995, as well as court documentation – from my trial testimony against Wolfgang Droege and his boys.


image2 - Copy

1992 Globe & Mail article that describes me (using the alias surname Deschner) as the new, softer face of the movement – a line taken by Dennis Foon and used on the cover of White Lies.

There are scenes where “Catherine” goes to Klan rallies, shooting ranges, and is shocked by the escalation of violence – which makes her turn against “NIM” (which stands for a mash-up of the Heritage Front and Ernst Zundel). At one point toward the end of the film, “Catherine” is directed by a Jewish community leader to steal Zundel’s mailing list – this never happened to Elizabeth, but I did actually take possession of such a list (both from Zundel and Droege’s home).

All of the above-scenes were lifted directly from interviews I did throughout 1993-1995 with CBC, CTV, Vision TV, and various newspapers – notably Toronto Sun, Globe & Mail, and the Ottawa Citizen.

TO Sun feature defection hategan testimony

I should add that there was a secondary character by the name of Erina who is essentially a used-up ex-NIM member whose only act of protest against the hate movement is to hang herself. The CBC had the nerve to advertise that Erina was based on Elisse Hategan.

Moore shown in Choose Your Voice, 2005

Moore shown in Choose Your Voice, 2005

So why pay Elizabeth $12,000 and pass off my story as her own? It’s a tough question, and I speculate it has to do with the fact that I was in hiding for my life and using different names, so they couldn’t reach me for comment. At the same time, Dennis Foon (as interviewed in the movie’s ‘Bonus Feature’) was excited by the prospect of making a film about a “normal”, “educated”, regular, “middle-class” white girl from the suburbs, with “nothing particularly deviant or crazy about her” (i.e. not abused, poor, gay or particularly vulnerable, etc.) who attended university being caught up in the white supremacist movement – while myself, as an abused runaway high-school drop-out from a low-income single-mother household, didn’t fit Foon’s arguably elitist profile of “girl next door”.

Ironic, considering that at 16 I was a runaway, homeless MINOR in need of a family when I was recruited, and by age 18 I defected from the group and turned information to police. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was a university-attending, 19-year old ADULT from an upper-middle class family who stayed in the group until age 21.

Ironic also, given the fact that my father was Jewish (I converted several years ago to Judaism and embraced my family roots), but Elizabeth comes from old Christian stock. Perhaps Foon and the CBC felt a privileged, Christian girl from a wealthy family would be more appealing as the girl-next-door?

There is also the issue of the story arc – the truth is, Elizabeth Moore came into the movement, stayed for a couple of years, dated someone in the group, distributed some posters, recorded hotline messages, wrote a couple of articles for Up Front, and then left as unmemorably as she had entered. According to her own admission in an essay titled From Marches to Modems, her first concerns about being a member of a white supremacist, neo-Nazi group came after she was featured in a documentary called Hearts of Hate – after it came out, she became very concerned about how she would be perceived (as in, her public image and I assume her school-grades) by her university circle, neighbours, etc.. It certainly wasn’t due to a perception that what she was doing in the Heritage Front was actually wrong.

Elizabeth Moore describing what made her leave the Heritage Front

Elizabeth Moore describing what made her leave the racist Heritage Front in the essay “From Marches to Modems”

If the CBC had made a movie about that, it would have been a flop – there was no action, no drama, no excitement. Elizabeth lived in the Annex (Clinton St) in Toronto for many years afterwards – pretty strange behaviour for someone who claims their life is in jeopardy. Nobody attacked her, nobody from the Heritage Front held a knife to her throat and threatened to take her life (like Peter Mitrevski did to me at Wolfgang’s urging). By her own admission (via a Facebook conversation with me in 2014), she was only a fringe, tertiary group member who wasn’t trusted with any sensitive information by the group’s core members:

liz confession1-1  liz paranoid

But that didn’t stop her from unsuccessfully asking the Canadian Jewish Congress to help her get admitted into the Witness Protection Program, a preposterous idea given that she didn’t actually possess any sensitive information and was never in danger. In fact, there are ZERO police records, independent evidence or media accounts /reports /articles about Elizabeth’s involvement with the Heritage Front until Hearts of Hate came out. There is virtually nothing as far as real evidence to back up her questionable claims of endangerment or self-importance.

In sum, after hearing Elizabeth’s own confession – both in writing and several conversations – that she had been considered paranoid by several psychiatrists back in the 1990s (and after witnessing her mindset in relation to another extremely serious and troubling issue which I won’t mention publicly due to respecting the sexual privacy of both Moore and other Canadian Jewish Congress individuals in question), I believe that she became fixated – even obsessed – with my story.

Unlike me (i.e. CBC’s “Catherine”), Elizabeth didn’t go to any gun ranges, Klan rallies, and most certainly didn’t steal any information, from Zundel, Droege or otherwise, to incur as far as I know any danger on the part of the HF. She didn’t “defect” from a group where, by virtue of being female (a ratio of over 10-1 in the hate moment) and a university student, was invited to tag along with Wolfgang and the boys, but wasn’t actually taken into confidence in terms of their terror attack plans on their so-called “enemies” – they had learned their lesson after I had betrayed them a year prior to Elizabeth coming on the scene.

I came out as a lesbian before Elizabeth decided she was gay too

I came out as a lesbian a year before Elizabeth Moore decided she was gay too…maybe. Or maybe not.

Moore telling me in a 2014 email that she thought she was gay too.

Elizabeth Moore tells me in a 2013 email that she thought she was gay too

And yet, that didn’t stop her from continuing to walk in my footsteps: after I came out as a lesbian and my coming-out was featured in Now Magazine, Elizabeth (who’d always dated men before, including a racist HF skinhead) confessed that she also went through a gay period (she’s back to straight now). Then she wanted to work with the media, and was excited to get that gig with the CBC.

Hategan defectionUpset, I decided to confront Elizabeth with the reality that the CBC producers who made the film had appropriated my story. Dennis Foon’s own website states the following:

“I was intrigued when I read about a high school girl, Elizabeth Moore, who had been recruited into the Heritage Front, a neo-nazi group in Toronto. She rose up in the ranks of the organization before she finally defected.”

Rose up the ranks? Defected? Dennis Foon lifted that description from a Toronto Sun article written about ME.

According to Elizabeth’s own confession, she was a tertiary, fringe group member.

liz confession1-1

During the 3 years she was a fringe member of the Heritage Front, Elizabeth’s involvement was NEVER documented in any articles, press/media –  with the exception of Hearts of Hate, a documentary she volunteered to appear in, there is absolutely no evidence of anything that could constitute her “rising in the ranks” or having any significance whatsoever to the group’s leadership, other than perhaps in her own mind.

Unlike what the film depicted, Elizabeth Moore was never a speaker at rallies – I was. She never had access to Ernst Zundel’s data and I doubt she was in his townhouse more than a couple of times. I had enough on the Heritage Front to put its leader behind bars and disband CSIS’s Operation Governor – since I testified in Parliament in front of a specially-appointed Senate SubCommittee that investigated Bristow’s illegal activities, CSIS had to hide him in Alberta. His days as agent provocateur extraordinaire were over.

Hategan articleGrant Bristow CSIS Elisa TO Star article

Did Elizabeth Moore shut down the Heritage Front? Absolutely not. What were the CBC smoking – because I want some of it. Given Elizabeth’s own confession that she had been considered paranoid by several psychiatrists and that she hadn’t actually been taken into the group’s confidence, I believe that she fixated on my story after it received national press attention and subsequently (while I was in hiding for my life) appropriated it for her own benefit.

No – the Heritage Front, Ernst Zundel, and the whole neo-Nazi movement in Ontario were essentially shut down by the actions of a few brave anti-racist activists: Martin Theriault, Rodney Bobiwash, myself, Ruth M and Annette H, and by the hard-hitting articles penned by Toronto Sun’s Bill Dunphy. Although they continued to operate for a couple of years afterwards, they were nothing like the power-force they used to be in the early 1990s.

When I confronted Elizabeth, this is what she wrote back. It’s an exact quote of the email she sent me yesterday afternoon:

“What Dennis learned about you came from legit sources like court records, newspaper articles and talking to many people who knew you then. He did over a year of research on this”

CBC evidence

So basically, Elizabeth herself ADMITS that Dennis Foon (along with his chain of command, which include Phil Savath and Brian Freeman), researched my story via court documents, interviews with people who knew me, and then made a movie about…..Elizabeth?

Maybe since our names were basically the same (Elisse/Elisa vs Elizabeth) and we are both short, dark-haired women, they thought nobody would notice.

It’s pathetic.

Pathetic because while I was dumpster-diving for survival and begging for spare change on street corners while in hiding, people were making money hand over fist based on what had happened to me. Producers were attending Emmy and Gemini galas and getting nominations for a film that wouldn’t have existed without me.

Pathetic because even after I wrote my memoir last year and was interviewed by the CBC’s Director of Programming / Original Program Development Sadia Zaman (who interviewed me 20 years earlier in a half-hour documentary for Vision TV), nobody at the CBC was willing to give me even a sound-bite of coverage. The story wasn’t relevant anymore – in today’s political climate, only Muslims can be terrorists. There’s no such thing as racism and white supremacy anymore.

I guess they had already capitalized on my story and were busy supporting other CBC rock stars like, you know, Ghomeshi?

I don’t know of any lawyers who can help me pro-bono in going after the CBC – but if you can help, please email me. Regardless of whether I can win a lawsuit against them or not, it’s clear that from a moral (and karmic) viewpoint, my story was exploited and I received no compensation, no credit whatsoever from the publicly-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I have an extended collection of media clippings that demonstrates many of the events depicted in White Lies were actually based on my experiences.

I would suggest the CBC revise the title of that shoddy film as “CBC Lies.” For anybody who is interested in what really happened back in the 1990s, please read my book Race Traitor: The True Story of Canadian Intelligence’s Greatest Cover-Up. (Sorry for the shameless plug, guys, but I didn’t score a dime from the CBC and I’m telling a TRUE STORY.)

book2 Elisa and RT

So if you’re reading this – Dennis Foon, Phil Savath, Brian Freeman, Kari Skogland, whoever else worked on it and yes, especially Elizabeth Moore – you should all be ashamed of yourselves.





10 Responses to “White Lies: A Pack of Lies, or How the CBC Ripped Off My Story”

  1. E said

    Updated February 27, 8:00 PM
    As of this evening, my week-long attempts to get any comments from Dennis Foon and others involved in production have gone unanswered….after I sent him two messages through Facebook and two more via his email days later, his response – in lieu of apology or explanation – was to block me on Facebook and Twitter.

    I didn’t think this level of cowardice was possible until this week.
    Even if the CBC producers involved in appropriating my story were concerned about the possibility of a lawsuit, they should at least have had the common decency to either apologize or SAY something, for God’s sake, if only to explain their side of things.

    But nobody wants to go on the record. Even if it would require only a modicum of common decency to treat me like a human being and dignify my appeals with a response. Much less when you’ve exploited and capitalized on my story, and the most I really want at this point is an apology. An acknowledgement that – although I wasn’t good enough, or, middle-class enough, or straight enough, or white enough (my father was Jewish) for Foon and his crew to admit that I inspired this film, at least apologize after you make money off my pain and heartache….the pain and heartache of a teenager with no prospects, no media connections. Especially after my story ended up earning you an Emmy and a Gemini nomination.

    I am disappointed by their cowardice but frankly, I didn’t expect much of a different reaction. I’m pleased that Anonymous has picked up the story of what really happened back in the 1990s.

  2. E said

    It is now March 12. I still haven’t received a SINGLE reply from the CBC, the producers involved in the production of White Lies, or from Dennis Foon, who researched my story for over a year, made an Emmy-nominated movie about it, and then promptly ignored me as soon as I contacted him to ask for an explanation, an apology, ANYTHING at all.
    I do know they’ve read my blog since I have Statcounter installed across my sites and I average about a dozen daily traffic hits from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. But no, not a peep so far.

    I should state that while Dennis Foon’s most recent media production appears to be Life, Above All, it doesn’t appear to me that he gives a damn about life, empathy, or artistic integrity.
    Which makes Dennis Foon, in my view, a far bigger asshole than I ever thought humanly possible.
    Oh and Dennis, if you’re reading this and don’t like being called (allegedly) an asshole – here’s a thought: how about you actually grow a pair and RESPOND to the girl (now woman) who you blatantly used as inspiration?

  3. E said

    April 3 UPDATE:
    So it appears the scumbags involved in the production of this film (read: the CBC) have decided not only to ignore me, but attempt to sell the DVD on their site. Pretty shitty behaviour, if you ask me, but it doesn’t surprise me. Ripping off artists, interns and cashing in on others’ suffering has become de rigeur for many media corporations.

    Producer Dennis Foon, who still has not responded to any of my messages, has actually had the NERVE to add a link on his website to BUY the film on the CBC site. Apparently instead of apologizing or even dropping me a freaking line to explain himself, he thinks the negative publicity generated by my article will lead to sales.

    So everybody – if anybody wants a copy of this film, remember that it’s available FOR FREE on Youtube. And frankly, it’s a pretty crappy film anyway and not worth whatever they might want to charge for it.

    PLEASE, DO NOT give these scumbags any money for stealing my story. Instead, write me directly and I’ll arrange for you to obtain a copy of the truth behind what really happened.

  4. E said

    May 27 UPDATE:
    Still no apology or word of explanation from the CBC, Dennis Foon, Phil Savath or even Sarah Polley (although at the time of production she was quite young and wouldn’t have known of the deception involved).
    Looks like Dennis Foon’s original White Lies page url was taken down, only to be replaced with a duplicate on his site. Who knows why, perhaps thinking that everyone who clicked on my link would end up at a broken 404 page? Well, I’ve just updated my blog with the new link – pretty shitty/cowardly thing to do Dennis, but then again (in case you’re trolling around on my site and read this) I wouldn’t expect anything else from you.

    Clearly, after having exploited my story, the CBC believes I’m worthless enough not to deserve any sort of apology. Or explanation. Or….anything at all. Which is pathetic since what I wanted the most was simply an APOLOGY.

    Although…as an unemployed writer struggling to finance my newest book, I wouldn’t have minded getting a modest “consultant” fee since, well, you guys DID steal my story and make a movie about it behind my back.

  5. Beenthere Donethat said


    I was once told by a film worker while inquiring after an on-set job that the industry is populated by a bunch of “glorified carnies”. I passed on that film job, and went on to work as an actual carny at a travelling fair. My experiences there, and my later experience stopping a film project from being stolen out from under me, confirms this description is more than apt. See episode 190 of The Simpsons for light-hearted reference.

    Then add to this the pervasive crony-nepotism of a decidedly 2nd tier industry populated by big league rejects lacking any incentive to produce quality product, whose jobs are to merely secure government funding and pocket as much of it as possible while keeping the bare minimum of promises made for said money. A picture should now be forming in your head that will help you understand who you are dealing with (or not) in this case.

    Though you surely understand this deep down, I will say it here: you won’t hear from them. Ever. Acknowledging you is acknowledging your claim and its legitimacy, and that is the first step towards a settlement they don’t want to make. Your choices are: lawyer up or give up.

    Or, make your own film based on your own book. Could be better than White Lies!

    • E said

      “Acknowledging you is acknowledging your claim and its legitimacy, and that is the first step towards a settlement they don’t want to make.”
      Brilliantly put, and reflecting pretty much verbatim what others in the industry and the legal profession have told me privately over the past months. Although it won’t stop me from publicly hounding, mocking and shaming the film writers and producers involved. Because….why not? It’s the least I can do after having been exploited.

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with me, I deeply appreciate it. The carnie life sounds much more fun and just a tad bit more sincere 🙂

      And yes, the rights to my stories are all still up for grabs. I am certain they would make a far better movie since the truth is much more interesting than fiction – ironically, every step the producers took to turn my character into an Anglo-Saxon “girl next door” type actually took away from the authenticity of what could have been a marginally-mediocre (but not complete shit) production. Besides, any screenplay that might get developed from my memoir couldn’t get any worse than CBC’s production. Especially since White Lies was a shitty, exploitative production to begin with.

      Addendum: I am now the proud owner of Call it a consolation prize.

    • jaklumen said

      Wow. Reminds me of when Shia LeBoeuf said he and his family were essentially a bunch of carnies. If the whole industry is like that… well, maybe that explains a few things.

  6. E said

    Reblogged this on Incognito Press.

  7. […] jaklumen on White Lies: A Pack of Lies, or… […]

  8. […] An open letter to my… on White Lies: A Pack of Lies, or… […]

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