Thursday, May 12, 2016

Whose Credibility?

"I felt a pair of hands on my shoulders and he just started massaging me aggressively. I tried to wriggle away. Jian [Ghomeshi] told me, 'You just need to relax, you're too tense'. It wasn't collegial. It was unprompted, it was extended, I felt trapped in a corridor and I felt like I could never say anything about it."
"[Ghomeshi's inappropriate behaviour in the workplace was continual, it] was certainly not the only time I was the recipient of wholly unwanted massaging."
"If you were in the bad books of Jian Ghomeshi -- the biggest star at the CBC -- you felt as though that was only as far as you could go."
Former unnamed four-year CBC producer

"He was standing basically against me. At first, I thought I [had] bumped into him, but afterwards a colleague told me he was slowly moving closer and closer."
"I thought he was a creep, but I never felt in danger. Every interaction with him was hard to explain; it was clear that his position at the CBC was part of a f----d-up power dynamic."
Former six-year CBC employee
Jian Ghomeshi yesterday delivered a limited acknowledgement-cum-apology in reference to his 'inappropriate' sexualized behaviour targeting women who worked for the CBC, many of whom worked on his popular entertainment program, Q. His apology was directed toward yet another former CBC producer, a woman who helped get Q off the ground and whom Ghomeshi had repeatedly sexually hounded by daily verbal innuendos and through direct uninvited sexual advances.

He had signed a peace bond, as a method whereby he could avoid a civil suit. His accuser, Kathryn Borel, had agreed to bypassing a civil trial in the knowledge that he would blandly deny her claims, as he had his three accusers at the previous criminal trial whose judge declared his inability to give credibility to the testimony of the accusers, choosing to exonerate Ghomeshi of all sex-abuse charges. But she had witnesses to verify her charges. And on this occasion Kathryn Borel was not about to stamp 'paid' to his limpid apology.

Ghomeshi Assault 20160511
Complainant Kathryn Borel, a former colleague of Jian Ghomeshi who accused him of sexually assaulting her, speaks to the media after the former CBC Radio host agreed to a peace bond Wednesday. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

"Jian Ghomeshi has apologized, but only to me. There are 20 other women who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about his violent behaviour", she stated. And in their defence, the CBC reaffirmed that "We are and remain committed to creating an environment in which safety and respect for one another is a fundamental attribute." A pledge that they gave short shrift to in every instance where a woman had been victimized by their star performer before they had little option when the matter became public, other than to fire him in the wake of massive public censure.

Kathryn Borel, a former producer for Q at CBC, was interviewed on that show by Jian Ghomeshi about her memoir, Corked, in 2009.
Kathryn Borel, a former producer for Q at CBC, was interviewed on that show by Jian Ghomeshi about her memoir, Corked, in 2009.  (CBC/YouTube)

Even so, and having revised their human resources process in the recording of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, the corporation had warned its employees to say nothing in public at risk of losing their employment. Ghomeshi's royal sense of entitlement to do whatever he felt impelled to at no risk to his reputation, while exploiting his position and sexually abusing vulnerable women who were told to simply tolerate the intolerable, has no doubt been a cause of embarrassment to male CBC employees.

One of whom, a contributor to the current iteration of Q with a new  host, rendered his opinion that the most important change addressing the problem of sexual harassment implemented by the CBC took place immediately Ghomeshi was  history at the CBC: "Honestly, the best reform the CBC has made is firing Jian Ghomeshi", he said. The women who spoke of their experiences with Ghomeshi, speaking on condition of anonymity said nothing to management in the belief Ghomeshi would be protected as star of the flagship arts and culture show. And so indeed had been the case.

A group of Q staff who worked with Ghomeshi had spoken to CBC hierarchy after sending a memo in 2012 raising concerns relating to a "culture of fear" in their workplace. They described in detail to the show's executive producer and the director of network talk radio their experiences, being subjected to Ghomeshi's whims and that when his orders failed to be followed, the punishment they would face. What followed was an institutionalized shrug.

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