Jian Ghomeshi, Pt.8
This news is already 5 days old, so I’ve likely lost Deke’s high esteem as the Peter Mansbridge of music blogging news. But two charges of assault against Jian Ghomeshi have been dropped, leaving him still to face 5 charges of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking. One of the charges dropped allegedly happened right in here in my town, at our annual festival where everyone obnoxiously pretends to love folk music for three days and then promptly ignores it for the rest of the year: Toronto Star
Huffington Post says trials aren’t until February and June of 2016. Way to go, justice system, for always keeping things current: Huff Post
Christine Blatchford reports that charges being dropped pre-trial is normal (all deference to the victims being dismissed, of course?): National Post
Toronto Star journalist says he will not reveal identities of alleged Ghomeshi victims in his upcoming book about Ghomeshi. In other news, there’s an upcoming book about Ghomeshi: cbc.ca
And in case you missed it, the CBC also helpfully re-linked to the Fifth estate’s piece called The Unmaking Of Jian Ghomeshi: 5th Estate
Jian Ghomeshi Pt.7
Our last update on this case was on December 5 of last year. I hadn’t heard much about it, but I was out today and saw it splashed across the front page of the Star, so I thought I’d check in online when I got home and see what was up.
What was most interesting to me is that the above-the-fold front page article I saw on the newsstand copy of today’s Star did not appear anywhere on the Star’s home page. Odd. And what was their top home page story? “How a Toronto professor’s research revolutionized artificial intelligence.” And with Google money, no less.
I don’t pay too much attention to the news, but wouldn’t you want your lead paper’s story on your web site too? I mean, it wasn’t visible anywhere on the main page. Not even as a You Must Subscribe To Get This Content teaser. I had to click the miniscule Search icon in the upper right and search his name to find anything about him, and it wasn’t even the story from today’s paper! Dropped the ball, I’d say, Star. Anyway, here’s what they did have:
First up, the CBC released a report: internal CBC report released on April 15 And it turns out management knew about and condoned his behaviour: CBC severing ties with ex-head of radio and HR director. There was lots of redacted sections in the 23 page report (with 8 pages of recommendations): Story is here. And there was a call for a shake-up in CBC management: Story is here.
On to the CBC next and, again, nothing was on the main page. But Search his name and you do get this article that 2 managers are no longer with the corporation. I believe this was the story on the front page of the Star that didn’t make it to their web page.
The National Post was the same, had to Search before finding the same story.
The Huffington Post told the same story, but again, it was buried way down on the page even though it was only yesterday’s news.
I suppose what troubles me most about all of this is not that this behaviour at the CBC has been acknowledged and the peoeple involved are leaving over it. It’s that, back in the fall when all of this was blowing up, Ghmeshi’s face was all over the front of everything. We got updates and coverage. Now, it’s something to be sought out, there’s nothing “above the fold” of any of these web pages. Is this story old news? Has the court of public online opinion already decided he’s guilty and moved on to other things? Or are they just waiting for when he goes to trial (where he’ll plead not guilty, mind you) to pick it up again because then, and only then, is there a real chance that salacious and blood-in-the-water things might come out and therefore make it newsworthy enough to put at the top of their pages again? I mean, this is a national story, about a nationally known figure. It just feels off, somehow, that still-serious events surrounding this story are buried, afterthoughts. At least the front page of the paper copy of the Star had it up there where we could see it and be informed.
Jian Ghomeshi, Pt. 6
It has been a while since we updated on this case, so here is some recent news of note from the last couple of months (in reverse chronological order, meaning most recent at the top, of course):
1) Ghomeshi now faces three new charges of sex assault, bring the total to six women. He is out on bail and his next court date is February 4.
2) It was announced that two high-level CBC executives were put on immediate leave in the wake of the scandal.
3) His publicist fought publication of a planned Toronto Life story about his love life.
4) CBC is removing (almost all) of Ghomeshi’s interviews from their online content “for now.”
Ani Difranco – Reprieve*
I fell in love with this record. I hear a lot of Ani, and this one was just completely arresting. Yes, it’s a bit dark, with hurricane Katrina on its mind, but all the emotional, political, cultural and personal insight is fully intact. If you buy one Ani album this week, make it this one. Amazing!
Ani Difranco – Not A Pretty Girl*
This, her fourth album, straddles her early days acoustic poetry slammings and her more experimental later stuff. Songs like Worthy and 32 Flavors are well known, where something like The Million You Never Made (among all the others), or Tiptoe, with its incredible intro, are other hits you need to hear. This is gritty, real, and fantastic.
Bif Naked – I Bificus
This is one I always knew about, and of course I had heard songs like Moment Of Weakness and Chotee, which I’m sure you’ll know as well. To step back and look at the album as a whole I recognize it as a very vital, energetic, excellent rock record chock full of great songs, while Lucky and Any Day Now offer some rest from the loud and fast. But all of it demands your attention, as you spin through. Very excellent record.
My copy has Boomtang Boys Mixes of Spaceman and Lucky tacked onto the end, which I thought totally sucked. I hate dance mixes, even on songs where it isn’t so much of a stretch (Spaceman). Blech. Completely skippable.
Billie Holiday – Lady In Satin^
Holiday always had a knack for conveying sadness and pain with such beauty so this, recorded not very long before her death and with her voice cracking and fragile and yet still so damn arresting, is unquestionably required listening for any and all of you who don’t yet own it. The production is so clear that, in the good headphones, it sounds like she’s right here in front of me. Absolutely mind-blowing. ESSENTIAL.
* Purchased during last year’s trip to Toronto with Mike!
^ Mine is a CD remaster of this 1958 classic.
I think we all knew that, no matter what happens to Ghomeshi at this point, it wasn’t gonna go well for the CBC either.
Did the CBC lie on the Fifth Estate show?
Also, they appear to have broken their own rules when they took money for Ghomeshi to interview Tom Petty.
Former Q producer, the one he said he wanted to “hate f*ck,” comes forward:
Oh, and there’s allegations that the fix was in on who got to be a guest on Q:
Hell, there’s even a debate about what the guy wore to his court date.
Even though he’s just out on bail before his hearing, the Fifth Estate has already made a whole show out of the Ghomeshi situation.
Make sure you’re comfortable… This sucker’s 45 minutes long.
Since you’re a tuned-in individual, you’ll know that the police have been investigating Jian Ghomeshi for a couple of weeks, and they now have enough to charge him:
As of today, Jian Ghomeshi has been charged with four counts of sexual assault, and one charge of “overcome resistance – choking.” He has surrendered himself to police.
His $55 million lawsuit against the CBC was withdrawn recently.
I have two concert reviews to finish, but they can wait. Don’t they always?
Here’s a picture that I’ve already regretted posting once this week:
That’s me with Jian Ghomeshi after a live Q taping in Regina last spring, done in association with the Juno Awards. I’m the taller one. Pinker in face and greyer in hair.
Making jokes is not helping in the way that making jokes usually does.
I’m not usually big into chatting with celebrities – I’m endlessly awkward and never have anything to say other than “durrr, good show tonight” even if it wasn’t a good show because what else am I going to say? I can’t usually come up with anything interesting and celebrities are surrounded by people who can.
But I really wanted to talk to Jian that night, because I wanted to thank him. Many years ago, I was big into his band, Moxy Früvous (shut it, Mike) and after seeing them for the first time, I wrote a review and posted it on the Moxy Früvous newsgroup, back in 1998 when newsgroups were a thing and I would sometimes finish a concert review within 24 hours. And then I received this:
i don’t often get involved in these things but i *had* to tell you that i LOVED your review of our Saskatoon show last week. You had me laughing out loud in front of my handy dandy laptop here in my hotel room in Edmonton. So thanks for being a fan of ours…i’m flattered when somebody so clearly smart and satirical enjoys our stuff.
There was more – a few jokes and points of clarification – but this is the part that I remember. I copied and pasted the above but could have typed it up from memory. If I hadn’t been a fan before, that would have done it – it meant a ton to me that he would take a few minutes out of his day to reach out. He was encouraging and funny and kind. I saw Früvous in concert a few times the next year; he remembered me and made a point of saying “hi” and chatting for a few minutes. It was important to me to stick around after the Q taping and let him know how much I still appreciated that.
I followed Moxy Früvous until they went on a hiatus which I think is now in its 15th year. I bought Jian’s solo EP, and listened to him from time to time on Q. I wasn’t a regular listener, but always enjoyed him when I got the chance. I remember when Billy Bob Thornton had his snit on the show, and reading comments online from Americans who were so impressed with how Jian handled the situation. Hell, I toasted the guy in my Toastmasters club, which might be the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written.
And now we have this.
Aaron said that my comment on his post should have BEEN the post, but I disagree. It’s a big ol’ internet, there’s lots of room for anything we want to dump on it, so I’ll just make my own post, plagiarizing from myself wherever needed.
My initial comments:
I don’t know if anyone will ever know what happened apart from those directly involved, who may not say or even believe the same thing anyway. We’ll see what comes out.
I don’t have any problem believing that CBC would fire someone for a stupid reason, especially if it’s a highly-paid someone. I don’t have any problem believing that people get unnecessarily scandalized by other people’s sex lives. I know that vengeful exes exist. And if I wanted to destroy a celebrity’s reputation, this is how I’d go about it.
At at the same time, rapists/abusive partners are far more common than vengeful exes who make up stories. And if I knew I was about to have those accusations levied against me, I’d do exactly what Jian did. He sues the CBC, making the mainstream story “Jian vs. CBC” instead of “Jian vs. four women accusing him of non-consensual violent sexual behaviour.” He posts a statement before the news story breaks, painting himself as the victim with lots of “you’ll hear people say” this and that to try and colour how those claims are heard. He confesses to behaviour that most people wouldn’t publicly admit to – boy, that makes him seem like an (embarrasse d but otherwise) honest guy, doesn’t it?
I note that so far, no woman has come forward to say that she dated Ghomeshi and defends him, but who’d want to jump in on this? And anecdotally, I’ve heard all kinds of rumours about the guy for a long time, but rumours don’t mean anything, necessarily.
I hope that the allegations are untrue because 1) that kind of shitty behaviour shouldn’t happen (shitty in terms of the non-consensual nature; people can do whatever they like as long as all involved are okay with it) and 2) in my limited personal dealings with Jian, he was friendly, encouraging, funny, and kind. And shitty things feel a lot worse coming from someone you thought was one of the good guys.
Now it’s a few days later. There are now eight women who’ve come forward with accusations, including one who’s doing so openly. (Edit on 10/31/2014: make that two.) From the looks of the most recent Toronto Star article, several of the women independently corroborated the others’ details.
My thought that the lawsuit was intended to spin the story as Jian vs. CBC appears to be true, as Jian can’t actually sue the CBC for that amount, based on the terms of his collective agreement. He and his lawyers would have known that. But hey, it worked – when I was watching the CTV morning news on Monday, the story was all about Jian getting fired and suing the CBC. The Toronto Star article and the women it references weren’t even mentioned.
I don’t know how anyone can defend him at this point. And I don’t know how anyone cannot believe his accusers. Explain how you can believe that many women are just conspirators. Explain what could they hope to get out of this. Explain why women keep coming out of the woodwork to side with the accusers,
but so far, nobody has said “yeah, I dated Jian – we did kinky stuff and he was communicative and caring and safe.” Explain the rumours that have been going around for years; things about inappropriate touching and an interest in inordinately young girls, and that dating him was not a good idea – rumours I had heard years ago. Rumours that Jann Arden and Tara Spencer-Nairn and Owen Pallett and Carl Wilson and Steve Murray had heard long ago. Explain the Twitter account that was posting accusations against Jian in April.
[edited to add: “but so far, nobody has said ‘yeah, I dated Jian – we did kinky stuff and he was communicative and caring and safe.’” Here’s Dan Savage with an interview with a woman who dated Jian and supports him: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/10/29/interviews-with-two-women-who-dated-jian-ghomeshi ]
I would love to believe Jian’s story, that this is all a smear campaign from a jilted ex. I want him to be who I thought he was and not who it seems he is. And if additional information comes to light, maybe posting all this will seem ridiculous. Maybe it already does. Maybe the possibility, however remote, that “several women conspired to destroy a star’s reputation and career” is the BEST-CASE SCENARIO says it all about how fucked up this all is.
I keep calling him “Jian” instead of “Ghomeshi” like we’re friends or something. And that’s the stupid thing – it almost felt like we were. Three or four emails and maybe 10 minutes of talking over a 15-year span will do that to a guy, I guess.
When I heard on Sunday that Jian got fired from the CBC, I set that picture as my Facebook profile pic. As the day went on, I became more and more certain that this would soon become a very bad idea. I swapped the picture out in short order, but I didn’t delete it – not from Facebook, not from Instagram, and I posted it here today. Partly, it’s the internet where everything lives forever anyway. But I think deleting the picture would be too easy. So you wipe him off the face of the earth. Pretend he never existed. Good news, ladies! We found the last Bad Guy that had infiltrated the Good Guy ranks and took care of him for you. All clear, shields down.
I’m leaving the picture up because it makes me uncomfortable because he was friendly, encouraging, funny, and kind. Because of what I didn’t see. Because of what I had heard and had excused away because it wasn’t provable (and, let’s be honest here, because it was unpleasant and inconvenient). Something to remember the next time I find myself thinking “that doesn’t sound like him” or “that’s not the guy I know.”
In the comments section of Aaron’s post, I started a reading list of interesting and important links. I’ll include it here, but divided into two batches (and may add more over time). The first articles are the “newsworthy” ones, for lack of a better word (it’s 2:30 a.m. as I finish this off):
- Text of Jian’s Facebook post:
- The original Star article:
- Second Star article:
- Financial Post: information on the CBC lawsuit (this is the one that says he can’t sure the CBC for $50M):
- Huffington Post: another woman has gone public with accusations
- Two PR firms just dropped Jian as a client. rock-it promotions: Going forward, rock-it promotions will no longer be representing Jian Ghomeshi. We won’t be responding to or receiving media requests. Navigator: In response to numerous media requests, Navigator confirms it does not advise Jian Ghomeshi. Regrettably, the circumstances of our engagement have changed and we are no longer able to continue. No further comment will be issued.
The second list of articles are recommended reading:
- XOJane article about someone who’s almost certainly Jian (note how many comments call her a liar or worse. Then wonder why the accusers aren’t willing to publicly come forward):
- Nothing in Winnipeg blog post regarding rumours about Jian:
- Owen Pallett’s post on Facebook: (more talk of longstanding rumours)
- A very interesting article from a BDSM perspective about communication and consent:
- Similar thoughts from sex columnist Dan Savage:
- Dan Savage interview with a woman who dated Jian and supports him:
- Globe & Mail: there are legal issues in Canada regarding the legality of BDSM even with consent:
- Huffington Post (an article about the @BigEarsTeddy Twitter account that was making accusations against Jian in April):
- Globe & Mail: the statement from the other members of Moxy Früvous:
News making the rounds yesterday was that the CBC has fired Jian Ghomeshi. Their reasoning seems to be that his conduct was unbecoming of a media star at the CBC. Apparently there’s a disgruntled ex-girlfriend causing waves and the CBC would rather distance themselves from scandal than help one of their brightest young talents.
Taking to Facebook and being open about things, Ghomeshi himself says he’s been treated poorly over something that is no one else’s business. He’s suing for $50 million, and seeking reinstatement under the collective bargaining agreement.
So, let’s say he is telling the truth. On the first point, the money, I agree with him completely. Soak the cowards. On the second point, though, why try to get your job back, especially at a place that would surely be a viper pit from now on? He’s been at this long enough, he oughta take the money and shop around for another job. Hell, he could make his own job, with that much money. He doesn’t need the CBC.
Now let’s look at the other side. The allegations (the Toronto Star says it’s more than one woman) say the behaviour wasn’t consensual. So it’s a he-said, she-said situation. And how does anyone prove what was said? That’s a tough one.
If this is what it looks like so far, you’d share his outrage if you were fired from your job because you like to be kinky in your own bedroom in your own home. If it turns out the allegations are true, then that’s a situation that needs addressed immediately. Would it still require firing from his job? Until we know more, it’s hard to say.