Update Nov 1st: “Toronto police investigating allegations against Jian Ghomeshi” There are nine women accusing Ghomeshi now, not just one. And it is important that two women have now come forward to the police with allegations against Ghomeshi so proper police investigations can start. Hope to see more facts slowly emerge in the coming weeks and months. At the end of the day, the most important thing is proper justice to be served.
And my apologies to reader Sarah M. I posted my reply 5 days ago, mere hours after your comment first appeared. But yeahstub.com was unable to display my reply after multiple (3) attempts, including a problem report. Nothing happened. My reply still has not showed up.
We now know why CBC star Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q, was first “off the air to deal with ‘personal issues'” on Friday and then “no longer with CBC” on Sunday. Ghomeshi stated in a lengthy and passionate Facebook status on Sunday, “I was fired from the CBC.”
Private Sex Life
Ghomeshi wrote, “Today I was fired from the company where I’ve been working for almost 14 years – stripped from my show, barred from the building and separated from my colleagues. I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision. But I am not going to do that. Because that would be untrue. Because I’ve been fired. And because I’ve done nothing wrong.
I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.”
Rough sex (forms of BDSM) and Fifty Shades of Grey
Ghomeshi was direct in stating he has “always been interested in a variety of activities in the bedroom but I only participate in sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners.”
Ghomeshi continues, “About two years ago I started seeing a woman in her late 20s. Our relationship was affectionate, casual and passionate. We saw each other on and off over the period of a year and began engaging in adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission. We discussed our interests at length before engaging in rough sex (forms of BDSM). We talked about using safe words and regularly checked in with each other about our comfort levels. She encouraged our role-play and often was the initiator. We joked about our relations being like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey or a story from Lynn Coady’s Giller-Prize winning book last year. I don’t wish to get into any more detail because it is truly not anyone’s business what two consenting adults do. I have never discussed my private life before. Sexual preferences are a human right.”
Ghomeshi has provided lot more details in his Facebook status, interested readers should read more over there to get the fuller context. Online Facebook commenters made it clear that they don’t care about Ghomeshi’s private sex life as long as it is between consenting adults. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” as former Minister of Justice Pierre Trudeau famously said in 1967.
The Star’s Bombshell
As if the CBC firing and Ghomeshi’s reply (and pending lawsuit) were not explosive enough news for Canadians, the Star, on late Sunday night, published a story that its editor Michael Cooke admitted it did not publish earlier “because there was no proof the women’s allegations of non-consensual abusive sex were true or false. They were so explosive that to print them would have been irresponsible, and would have fallen far short of the Star’s standards of accuracy and fairness.“
Cooke justifies his abandoning of “the Star’s standards of accuracy and fairness” because of Ghomeshi’s Sunday Facebook status. Cooke stated, “In view of Mr. Ghomeshi’s extraordinary statement on Facebook on Sunday evening, and his high public profile in Canada, we now believe it is in the public interest to detail those allegations, which appear to have led directly to his sudden firing from the CBC.“
Should “public interest” be an excuse/reason for publishing unproven allegations?
Who in Canada appointed editor Michael Cooke, reporters Kevin Donovan and Jesse Brown as policemen, juries, judges, and executioners?
In order to write this op-ed, this reporter spent some time to read the reporters’ article and the editor’s “justification” carefully. This reporter was first alerted of an upcoming article by Brown in a tweet, “What I have learned about @jianghomeshi after months of investigation will be reported responsibly as soon as possible. Patience please.”
If Ghomeshi was proven in a court of law that he committed the physical or sexual assaults, then he should be punished to the full extend according to the laws of Canada. Clear and simple.
Right now, as stated in the article, “None of the women filed police complaints and none agreed to go on the record.” This put the accused into a no-win situation when the accusers are hidden in the dark. And no chance for the accused’s lawyers to cross examine the accusers. And now, worst, some unquestioning Canadians will forever take what the Star printed on Sunday as “facts” and dispense with the formality of our “justice system” and sentence Ghomeshi as a monster and execute his reputation.
This writer hates, yes “hates”, men that sexually abuse women and think those men should be put through the justice system and be locked up and punished. At the same time, have the three Star “executioners” forgotten the concept of innocent until proven guilty? Ghomeshi’s Facebook note does not justify the Star’s decision to print the article. Mr. Cooke is dead wrong in throwing the “standards of accuracy and fairness” out the window.
It is sad to read “The reasons given for not coming forward publicly include the fear that they would be sued or would be the object of Internet retaliation.” But the internet is full of crazy people who don’t know right from wrong and that is NOT an excuse for the Star to eliminate our justice system and let reporters Kevin Donovan and Jesse Brown go out and write unproven allegations.
It is important to not vilify the women accusing Ghomeshi because they might be right and are the victims. What won’t work is these women staying in the dark, not report their accusation to the police, avoid police investigators’ questioning, and most important of all, allowing the accused lawyers to question them in an open court of law. And the whole case being decided in an impartial manner by a judge. This is how our judicial system works. Not decided in Facebook notes, Tweets, and unproven newspaper reports with anonymous sources.
A question for the Star editor Michael Cooke, reporters Kevin Donovan and Jesse Brown, who in Canada appointed you three as policemen, juries, judges, and executioners?
Oct 27th 3:24pm MST update: “The Ghomeshi question: The law and consent” is an informative article at Globe and Mail by Brenda Cossman, a professor of law at the University of Toronto, highly recommended reading to stay informed during this discussion. Professor Cossman ended her article beautifully,
“Since the news broke, sides have been drawn, nasty name-calling has begun – everything from the CBC is sex phobic to Ghomeshi fans are slut-shaming his accusers. But, none of us know the facts. We barely know the allegations. We could take a step back, let the contested facts come to air and reflect on the state of the law of consensual and non-consensual sex, including its traditional mistrust of sexual assault complainants. But, alas, such is not the way of sex scandals.”
Oct 27th 11:32pm MST update: Green Party leader posted a note that is worth a read, “Elizabeth May regarding Jian Ghomeshi”.