We’ll have the versions of the parties involved, but unless there was a recording of the event, it comes down to a he-said-she-said, and we’re left to decide which side is more credible based on our personal opinions of them, our life experiences, statistics and generalizations, and our gut instincts.Many will take an educated guess at what probably happened, but nobody will know for sure.Now four more women have come forward, accusing Ghomeshi of sexually abusive behavior dating back as far as 2002 in a Toronto Star article released Wednesday. While most of the women have asked to remain anonymous, Canadian television actress Lucy De Coutere (who plays Lucy on Trailer Park Boys) agreed to have her name used in the article, saying that in 2003 Ghomeshi choked her so hard she couldn’t breathe and slapped her hard on the head three times. When she knelt to pick them up, he choked her from behind and struck her across the head.
After an eight-day trial, Justice William Horkins acquit Ghomeshi of the charges.
The judge concluded that the three accusers’ stories were inconsistent, stating in his judgment, “The evidence of each complainant suffered not just from inconsistencies and questionable behavior, but was tainted by outright deception.” He also confirmed the presence of reasonable doubt in the case.
While details of his dismissal weren’t immediately clear, a Toronto Star article released Sunday night revealed that four women alleged that Ghomeshi was violent with them during or leading up to sex. The other women share a range of accusations, including nonconsensual choking, hitting, verbal abuse, and workplace sexual harassment.
Ghomeshi responded to the firing with a $50 million lawsuit against the CBC and a lengthy Facebook post about his proclivities for BDSM and the claim that the firing was based on a “moral judgment” about his personal sexual preferences. Here's the story from one woman, a twentysomething fan of Ghomeshi’s who met him at a book-signing event: She alleges that in the stairwell, Ghomeshi slammed her against a cement wall and she dropped her belongings.
Some thoughts on Jian Ghomeshi, about whom I feel entitled to opine because I was once a guest on his show — talking about the little fundraising thing I did last year which included RAINN, an interview which now in retrospect is sadly ironic. Ghomeshi was a radio show host in Canada, who was let go by the CBC because of then-mysterious reasons. Ghomeshi took to Facebook to allege that he was fired because he participated in consensual BDSM play which was now being used against him by vengeful exes, and sued CBC for “breach of confidence and bad faith.” Since then a number of women have come forward to allege totally non-consensual abuse and/or harrassment at the hands of Mr. Again, BDSM isn’t my thing, but it’s a thing I know enough about to know that what Mr. What little I know about BDSM is that those who enjoy it are happy to share and to teach and to provide a safe space for that enthusiasm. Ghomeshi, I am certain, would not have lacked for willing, consenting partners — if this really about consensual sexual exploration and enjoyment. Ghomeshi other than through a very brief professional encounter. Do you maintain he is your friend but acknowledge what he’s done is wrong? What I can say is that I hope I never am in this situation. To reiterate, because it’s important: I believe the women who have come forward to allege assault and harassment.
There’s nothing wrong with consensual BDSM play; if that’s your thing and you can get other people to go along with it in a safe and consenting manner, then you kids have fun with that. Suddenly smacking the hell out of someone and/or choking them without prior discussion or agreement is pretty much the of consensual BDSM play, now, isn’t it. But at the end of the day choking a woman who is not consenting to the experience and saying it’s BDSM is akin to stabbing someone in a bar and claiming it was a martial arts test match. The irony of the above point is that if it really about BDSM (which it was not), then there was no reason for any of that to happen. Ghomeshi’s friends addressed this in a post of his own, which is worth reading. I know what I think I would want to do; I don’t know if it’s what I do because I’ve never had to be in this situation.
Ghomeshi is true, and to reiterate I rather strongly suspect that it is, then his being fired from the CBC is, bluntly, the least worst thing that could happen to him at this point. Ghomeshi to try to frame his assaults in the context of BDSM, but also disingenuous and false.
But, again, I don’t really think it was ever about that. I don’t envy the people who know him who are now learning about the allegations and who suspect that they are true. It’s been noted by other people better able to testify on the subject that one of the most radical things you can do when a woman speaks up about abuse and harassment is to believe her.
Which initially seems like an incredible statement to someone like me, who is almost always believed by default when he chooses to speak up about something.