Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi and you

I've been listening to Jian Ghomeshi for as long as he's been associated with the CBC. His interview style, honed on his national show, Q, is an almost otherworldly mix of the familiar and the probing. I wish I could "do" radio like he does radio, wish I could talk to people with the focused ease that he seems to bring to any conversation.

Doesn't matter if he's talking to rock royalty, actual royalty, or some guy we had never heard of until the mic went on. Whoever the guest and whatever the topic, you know it'll be a worthwhile thing to listen to simply because he's the guy with the baton, and the guy who's helping the guest tell his/her story in ways no other interviewer could manage.

All that seems to have blown up in an uncharacteristically un-Canadian manner this weekend with news that the CBC has let him go, and that he is suing the broadcaster for $50 million. In an explanatory post (here), he goes into rather painful and sordid detail about what may be behind the latest turn of events.

I'm no judge, and I won't get involved in breathless social media speculation over who said what, who's right and who's wrong. That's for the courts, the lawyers, the HR experts, arbitrators and union officials to work out in the weeks and months to come.

But my feelings as a journalist need not wait that long. For now, a major Canadian media voice has been silenced, apparently over allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law, and that apparently revolve around behaviors that might make a lot of Canadians uncomfortable.

It makes me wonder what a vengeful ex-anyone might dig up if they dug deeply into my own private life, and how that might affect my own professional trajectory (for the record, they'd find an incredibly boring pile of nothingness, but still, that's not the point. What matters is that anyone has this kind of power over anyone else in the first place.)

In the age of social media, expect the number of victims of this kind of thing to increase over time. Whether the allegations are founded or unfounded is almost irrelevant. The fact that they can be made in the first place, and fanned with relative ease in today's online forum, should make us all afraid that the same thing can happen to us.


Anonymous said...

Kinda jumping the gun aren't you?

carmilevy said...

Anon: Um, no. Re-read what I wrote: I'm not jumping on anything.

Carolyn R. Parsons said...

He has effectively silenced the cbc. Lawsuit means they're mum. Good for Jian..for now..The one thing I questioned in all this was the comment about nobody having complained to the HR dept. which made me wonder if the alleged accuser works at cbc also. That was a red flag and is something that would change the story considerably. We all have to wait and see.

kerry said...

If anyone who'd ever acted on a kink was outed like this, nobody would have a job. His post is more honest than most of us would admit to, though perhaps the real tale is somewhere between his tale and hers. Whatever, it shouldn't be a fireable offence if no crime or abuse was committed.