Popular radio and television personality Jian Ghomeshi got the boot from his own show and broadcasting station at the end of October, which prompted fan inquiries as to what happened. The sudden announcement came as a surprise considering Ghomeshi had chosen to take a leave of absence from his well-received show “Q” – that often featured international film stars and musicians – in layover of his father’s recent passing. Turns out that was only half the case.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation issued a statement of separation from Ghomeshi on October 26th, foregoing words which gave little insight as to the hidden beast of the situation. With little hesitation, the 47 year-old media personality gave his own accountings of the reasons he’d been fired via a 1,500-word Facebook posting. Within the length of his letter to concerned Canadians and international followers, Ghomeshi discloses the nature of his firing to be in “risk of [his] 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.” The sexual acts he acknowledges are later admitted, in his own words, to be “like a mild form of Fifty Shades of Grey” that he committed with “a woman in her late 20s.” Ghomeshi immediately threatened to launch a 55 million Canadian dollar ($49 million) lawsuit against his employer of nearly 14 years.
Word from the Toronto Star reveals the newspaper’s reporters had “approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters.” All three women admitted to Ghomeshi attacking them on dates without consent, typically with a closed or open hand; often biting or implementing strangulation until they passed out; even covering their nose and mouth so they had difficulty breathing; resulting in many forms of verbal abuse before and after sex. A fourth woman, one who worked in the same offices as Ghomeshi, recalled him saying “I want to hate fuck you” in the work place. None of these women have come forward publicly in fear of being sued or becoming an object of Internet retaliation.
Renowned indie rock artist Owen Pallett published an open statement on Facebook about Ghomeshi days after the allegations arose. Pallett has regularly considered Ghomeshi to be a friend of his, but challenged a lot of the words Ghomeshi used in his original letter to the public. Several times throughout his letter, Pallett repeats the statement “three women were beaten by Jian Ghomeshi,” despite his admittance to their hugging on camera and times sharing personal talks over drinks. Pallett recognized a lot of what paired them together in the past, but never disregarding Ghomeshi’s alleged actions. Outspoken musician Grimes commented that Pallett’s words were “measured and thoughtful like always.”
Where the Canadian courts steer the direction of this case is yet to be seen. Recent news from the Toronto Star reports Ghomeshi to have hired criminal defense lawyer Marie Henein, whom the Star depicts “seemed to channel Hannibal Lecter” in previous cases. Whether that makes a difference will be impossible to say as potentially more victims of Ghomeshi’s abuse choose to step out.