Jian Ghomeshi is a Canadian former talk show host, the man behind very popular radio show Q for eight years during a nearly 14-year career with the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). Ghomeshi had built up significant amount of good will with left-leaning Canadians by espousing a platform of equalism and social justice, having just spoken out with an anti-GamerGate bent earlier this month. Most Canadians even assumed that he was a homosexual, a protected and elevated class in the word view to which his show pandered.
That all ended several days ago, when Ghomeshi was fired from CBC for claims of assault made against him by an ex-girlfriend, who alleged that their rough sexual escapades were non-consensual. When the scandal broke, he went to the CBC with confidential information, which the company then used to fire him. CBC had even told him they believed that the allegations were without merit.
Ghomeshi is suing the government-funded CBC for defamation, breach of confidence and punitive damages. The lawsuit is for $55 million. The suit claims that Ghomeshi was fired because CBC thought it would be bad publicity if the public learned about the host’s BDSM practices. The Financial Post thinks that he will not win any money, but that viewpoint is potentially motivated by PR and pandering to the mob rather than any legal basis.
The timeline and recent similar events in entertainment
A former girlfriend of Ghomeshi set off the scandal by telling a reporter that she did not consent to the BDSM they practiced during their relationship, while Ghomeshi claims she is lying. Three other women came forward on Sunday with similar allegations of physical abuse during sex in a story published by Jesse Brown. Prior to the story breaking, there had been no formal complaints to HR filed, nor any police reports filed against Ghomeshi.
On Sunday afternoon, Ghomeshi posted on Facebook with the story of his termination. Unlike most celebrities, he did not force an apology and quietly leave. His post is long and bitter, but draws the reader to sympathy. This is an excerpt, but you should read it in its entirety:
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.
Despite a strong connection between us it became clear to me that our on-and-off dating was unlikely to grow into a larger relationship and I ended things in the beginning of this year. She was upset by this and sent me messages indicating her disappointment that I would not commit to more, and her anger that I was seeing others.
After this, in the early spring there began a campaign of harassment, vengeance and demonization against me that would lead to months of anxiety.
Which seems more likely—that an attention-seeking up and comer in the industry comes to resent a famous and powerful man’s dalliances and refusal to commit, or said woman endures an abusive, non-consensual relationship and only confesses to her forced suffering after being dumped?
At the very least, Ghomeshi’s account demands a more nuanced investigation of the situation, one that is unlikely to come from any mainstream media outlet. He is accused of an action against a woman, so he is automatically a misogynist, and now will be a pariah in the media.
Notice Ghomeshi’s explanation of the accusations and contrast this with Jonah Hill’s recent apology for using the word “faggot.” Like many people, I personally find BDSM to be decadent but I have little problem with the word “faggot.” Yet, I have some measure of sympathy and respect for Ghomeshi, whereas I feel distaste for Hill. The media will vilify Ghomeshi even further for this, but he stood up for himself and for his side of the story on the fishy accusations. Hill, on the other hand, is still vilified despite his groveling.
Gawker did not fail to offer their own commentary, calling Ghomeshi “creepy” and claiming that the women should not have to feel uncomfortable about going public:
He gets to call these women liars and conspirators against him without their being able to respond in kind. The scales are weighted in his favor because he has the microphone and the power. It’s pretty awful.
The writer for Gawker—who is from Canada—said it was “vaguely disturbing” how her friends and family members clicked “like” on Ghomeshi’s Facebook post. She is quick to criticize those who immediately believe him, while offering no reason why she immediately disbelieves him. Keep in mind, there is no evidence for any of the allegations beyond hearsay.
The Huffington Post predictably ran an article praising the journalist, Jesse Brown, who gave the story from the three other women. Brown has done a lot of controversial journalism and has a popular podcast. Brown claims to want to say the things none of the other Canadian journalists are willing to, but based on the HuffPo article, it seems that Brown is simply interested in controversy for the sake of controversy.
Jump on the bandwagon
This seems to be a common pattern with celebrities in unconfirmed sex scandals. One woman claims something and then several other groupies hop on the media whore train. People claim Bill Cosby raped 13 women, but do they have any idea how hard it is to rape just one? Thirteen is a large rape notch count. Even if it was all consensual, how would Cosby hide that much adultery from his wife? He isn’t a sex symbol like some politicians are.
This situation also raises a question concerning the interaction between internet life and work life, which we saw play out during the firing of Pax Dickinson. Should one be held accountable at work for what he does on the internet? For now, the reality is yes. Whether or not it should change in the future is a different question which manosphere readers are likely to be divided on, though we have seen public figure after public figure tarred and feathered by the social justice mob over the past few years.
As red pill men, how are we to feel for Ghomeshi? There is admittedly some poetic justice that the sword of social justice he helped to sharpen was responsible for cutting down his career. But on a more general level, we can only look on with grim acknowledgement that another man was ruined by dubious accusations in the court of public opinion without any verdict in a court of law. Perhaps it will require more of society’s power elite to have their lives ruined for the burgeoning guilty-until-proven-innocent mob culture of the information age to be tamed.