By: Kevin Donovan Investigations, Jesse Brown Special to the Star, Published on Sun Oct 26 2014
CBC star Jian Ghomeshi has been fired over “information” the public broadcaster recently received that it says “precludes” it from continuing to employ the 47-year-old host of the popular Q radio show.
Shortly after CBC announced Ghomeshi was out the door on Sunday, Ghomeshi released news that he was launching a $50-million lawsuit claiming “breach of confidence and bad faith” by his employer of almost 14 years. He later followed that up with a Facebook posting saying he has been the target of “harassment, vengeance and demonization.”
Why the Star chose to publish ‘explosive’ allegations
Fired radio host earned loyal following with interview show
Over the past few months the Star has 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. Ghomeshi, through his lawyer, has said he “does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.”
The above story continues on the Toronto Star website and you can read it all there.
What I find fascinating is the role of a video blogger and media critic by the name of Jesse Brown. Jesse Brown has made quite the reputation for himself in Canada as a self-proclaimed one-man “truth teller”. His goal is to tell the stories no one else is pursuing, and to ask the questions everyone else is avoiding. His site is http://canadalandshow.com/.
I am writing today because I want you to be the first to know some news.
This has been the hardest time of my life. I am reeling from the loss of my father. I am in deep personal pain and worried about my mom. And now my world has been rocked by so much more.
Today, I was fired from the CBC.
For almost 8 years I have been the host of a show I co-created on CBC called Q. It has been my pride and joy. My fantastic team on Q are super-talented and have helped build something beautiful.
I have always operated on the principle of doing my best to maintain a dignity and a commitment to openness and truth, both on and off the air. I have conducted major interviews, supported Canadian talent, and spoken out loudly in my audio essays about ideas, issues, and my love for this country. All of that is available for anyone to hear or watch. I have known, of course, that not everyone always agrees with my opinions or my style, but I’ve never been anything but honest. I have doggedly defended the CBC and embraced public broadcasting. This is a brand I’ve been honoured to help grow.
All this has now changed.
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.
As friends and family of mine, you are owed the truth.
I have commenced legal proceedings against the CBC, what’s important to me is that you know what happened and why.
Forgive me if what follows may be shocking to some.
I have 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.
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.
It came to light that a woman had begun anonymously reaching out to people that I had dated (via Facebook) to tell them she had been a victim of abusive relations with me. In other words, someone was reframing what had been an ongoing consensual relationship as something nefarious. I learned – through one of my friends who got in contact with this person – that someone had rifled through my phone on one occasion and taken down the names of any woman I had seemed to have been dating in recent years. This person had begun methodically contacting them to try to build a story against me. Increasingly, female friends and ex-girlfriends of mine told me about these attempts to smear me.
Someone also began colluding with a freelance writer who was known not to be a fan of mine and, together, they set out to try to find corroborators to build a case to defame me. She found some sympathetic ears by painting herself as a victim and turned this into a campaign. The writer boldly started contacting my friends, acquaintances and even work colleagues – all of whom came to me to tell me this was happening and all of whom recognized it as a trumped up way to attack me and undermine my reputation. Everyone contacted would ask the same question, if I had engaged in non-consensual behavior why was the place to address this the media?
The writer tried to peddle the story and, at one point, a major Canadian media publication did due diligence but never printed a story. One assumes they recognized these attempts to recast my sexual behaviour were fabrications. Still, the spectre of mud being flung onto the Internet where online outrage can demonize someone before facts can refute false allegations has been what I’ve had to live with.
And this leads us to today and this moment. I’ve lived with the threat that this stuff would be thrown out there to defame me. And I would sue. But it would do the reputational damage to me it was intended to do (the ex has even tried to contact me to say that she now wishes to refute any of these categorically untrue allegations). But with me bringing it to light, in the coming days you will prospectively hear about how I engage in all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom. And the implication may be made that this happens non-consensually. And that will be a lie. But it will be salacious gossip in a world driven by a hunger for “scandal”. And there will be those who choose to believe it and to hate me or to laugh at me. And there will be an attempt to pile on. And there will be the claim that there are a few women involved (those who colluded with my ex) in an attempt to show a “pattern of behaviour”. And it will be based in lies but damage will be done. But I am telling you this story in the hopes that the truth will, finally, conquer all.
I have been open with the CBC about this since these categorically untrue allegations ramped up. I have never believed it was anyone’s business what I do in my private affairs but I wanted my bosses to be aware that this attempt to smear me was out there. CBC has been part of the team of friends and lawyers assembled to deal with this for months. On Thursday I voluntarily showed evidence that everything I have done has been consensual. I did this in good faith and because I know, as I have always known, that I have nothing to hide. This when the CBC decided to fire me.
CBC execs confirmed that the information provided showed that there was consent. In fact, they later said to me and my team that there is no question in their minds that there has always been consent. They said they’re not concerned about the legal side. But then they said that this type of sexual behavior was unbecoming of a prominent host on the CBC. They said that I was being dismissed for “the risk of the perception that may come from a story that could come out.” To recap, I am being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life.
Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks. They may be strange, enticing, weird, normal, or outright offensive to others. We all have our secret life. But that is my private life. That is my personal life. And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life.
And so, with no formal allegations, no formal complaints, no complaints, not one, to the HR department at the CBC (they told us they’d done a thorough check and were satisfied), and no charges, I have lost my job based on a campaign of vengeance. Two weeks after the death of my beautiful father I have been fired from the CBC because of what I do in my private life.
I have loved the CBC. The Q team are the best group of people in the land. My colleagues and producers and on-air talent at the CBC are unparalleled in being some of the best in the business. I have always tried to be a good soldier and do a good job for my country. I am still in shock. But I am telling this story to you so the truth is heard. And to bring an end to the nightmare
Silence is soothing.
At the right time and place. There are moments when we just want quiet. When we desire peaceful reflection. Moments of simply wanting to reside in the harbour of ourselves. Silence chosen and embraced is the sweet blissful cocoon of tea for one and a book at midnight. Wrapped in soft blanket on the couch I savour each sip, each word, and wander the paths of imagination.
Silence is bitter.
At 4:30 AM when the world is asleep, and all around is the dead of night. Even the creak of the house long settled into the cold silence of the dark. Silence then is as bitter as black coffee. Espresso doubled down and chugged straight up and hot. I slip out of bed and wander the empty silence of my house. Standing in each cold empty room looking for answers, looking for voices. But it is only the echo of me rambling to myself.
Silence is nothing.
A gap the size of the moon dancing across the skies, slipping over stars and planets. Dancing between streaks of light from comets. Silence is the sputtering of candles defying the dark, defying the rain, defying the wind, defying time. The candles never win, but oh how they burn, oh how they dazzle with bright burning flames. Silence is the gasp in the moment after you and I. As we pull apart and lie side-by-side, side-by-each, alone in the racing of our hearts.
Silence is absence.
Empty spaces in my memory of people who made me laugh. Made me cry. Made me love them. Perhaps they even loved me. At least in silence I can dream and think; believe that once they cared to call my name and longed to hold me near. Silence frees the ghosts of the past to wander through my mind with stories of ‘what if…’ and ‘remember when…’
Silence is sharp.
Razor edged slicing away what needs to be forgotten. Slicing deep and opening wounds we cannot leave alone. Silence is when we are fully ourselves; undistracted, undissolved, undistilled. The raw essence of I fully exposed to the sun and the sky. Bleeding away trickle by tick, droplets of time all bloody and slick. Revealing the truth to a stupid old dick. In silence there is no hiding from regret and sweet guilt.
Silence is golden.
What more is there to say? Silence is needed, and simply embraced. Held close to feel cold reality and warm life still breathing, still beating, still in this frame. Silence speaks loudly – and when we listen closely silence sets us free.
Yesterday’s poem was apparently horrible. Awful. A stink of words gone bad. To those that let me know how truly sucky my sucktatstic poem really was – thank you I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. My apologies for not meeting your expectations. I will keep your critiques of my cadence and pacing in mind as I create other poems for your enjoyment.
Now don’t take that to mean I will actually write poems that you will enjoy – because truthfully you will not enjoy them. Not all poems must rhyme. Not all poems are lyric. Not all poems are about real things said in ways real people might say them. Some poetry is an attempt at using words like colours on a canvas. The words are not meant to have meaning; the words are not meant to mean what you have been taught they mean. Indeed when I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean.
When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’
In this case the entire point of that last poem was simply a really bad pun that would not leave me alone. It rattled in my brain for a day and a half of silliness and distraction before I finally pinned it to the keyboard and made it squeal. That last poem is funny. Even hilarious in a ribald sort of way. To me.
Apparently I write this stuff for free – and ya know caveat emptor when I carpe diem my quid pro quo.
quod erat demonstrandum via reductio ad absurdum.
Fini et exeunt omnes.
fine disks of
bond by weak attraction
yielding to gravity
into new patterns
new bits and pieces
and every where
layers of star dust
dancing in sunlight
sparkling by moonlight
settling in thin layers
covering my life in
filthy shades of grey.