poor persecuted pervert?

There’s a scandal breaking in Canada. It’s about BDSM. Or is it? I’m not so sure.

Short version: Jian Ghomeshi is a wicked popular CBC host, and the CBC just fired him without disclosing why. He’s retaliating with a $50 million lawsuit (unheard of in non-litigious Canada) and a demand for reinstatement. On Sunday, he made a Facebook post which discloses that he’s kinky and about to be defamed by an unnamed ex-girlfriend and several other past dates she’s recruited, who will insist that his behaviour was non-consensual. A couple hours later, I heard about a semi-recent xoJane article by Carla Ciccone detailing some very creepy behaviour on the part of an unnamed “Canadian C-list celebrity” whom many speculate is Ghomeshi. This article has apparently earned her a serious thrashing by trolls. Later Sunday evening, the Toronto Star posted an article detailing their interviews with four women who are remaining anonymous (for now?), three of whom have accused Ghomeshi of non-consensual sexual violence on dates, and one of whom, a former CBC colleague, has accused him of sexual harassment in the workplace. Read the linked pieces to get the information I’m currently working from here.

Here’s where I’m coming from: I know who Ghomeshi is, but I’ve never seen or listened to his shows so I have zero opinion on him as a celebrity of any letter grade, or on his work, or on his personality. I know nothing about his sex life, his kinks, or his dating habits. As for me, I’m an unashamed, publicly out pervert and a staunch feminist. I’m also someone who keeps a close eye on how BDSM/leather/kink is discussed both within our many community fora and in the wider public. And thus far, I’m noticing a number of things that aren’t quite adding up in this whole story.

It says something about the success of the BDSM/kink/leather community’s public education work of the last decade-plus that Ghomeshi would take the gamble that the “it was consensual kink” argument would outweigh the “you’re a filthy pervert” reaction in the court of public opinion. In a sense, this is a major triumph for us pervs. But in the Canadian context specifically, this strategy is not as risky as it might seem. We pride ourselves as being an open-minded society. The year 2005 brought us both same-sex marriage and a Supreme Court ruling that legalized swinging. These days, we’re seeing broad public support for sex workers’ rights even from political centrists, despite how the Conservative government seems determined to make a mess of them with Bill C-36. Harper notwithstanding, Canada’s pretty hip when it comes to alternative sexuality, and a young, popular and very media-savvy broadcaster knows this.

A danger inherent in this kind of media-message success is that the “don’t hate me for being kinky” defence will be used by people who perpetrate non-consensual violence, and that we, as a community, will stand by uncritically – or worse, cry out in support – as victims of violence are once again silenced. I don’t wish to be complicit in someone’s misappropriation of BDSM terminology and codes as a shield for rape and assault. So when this defence comes up, my immediate reaction is to listen very carefully, read everything I can find on a given instance, and hold back on my knee-jerk inclination to side with the “persecuted pervert.” Persecuted perverts do exist, absolutely. But we don’t know, until we hear the full story, whether that’s what’s really going on – or if we’re being thrown under the bus by someone who’s no friend to sadomasochism.

In this case, Ghomeshi made a pre-emptive strike, setting the terms of the debate: don’t demonize me for being kinky, even if you don’t like my proclivities. But so far, this doesn’t seem to be a scandal about kink at all. From Ciccone to the anonymous accusers, the women who are (or seem to be) complaining about him aren’t complaining about his kinks or calling him out for being a disgusting pervert. They’re complaining about far more mundane and familiar things: the ex-co-worker is noting unwanted ass-groping in the workplace. Ciccone mentions creepy non-consensual touching at a concert date that wasn’t supposed to even be a date, followed by stalker-y behaviour. And the anonymous women who wanted to get involved with him at first aren’t complaining about how gross his supposed perversions are. They’re making allegations of regular old non-consensual violence. And part of the reason they are saying they won’t come forward in person is because they’re afraid their pre-date conversations about kink will be used as evidence that they consented to what he did. In other words, these women may have said “sure, some kink sounds like fun” and are concerned that their own stated interest will be held up as evidence of consent to violence. If I am reading this right, these women were either themselves interested in kink to some extent, or at least weren’t put off by Ghomeshi’s interest, since they each still went on a date with him. This is a very different story than “Ew gross he wanted to use handcuffs what a total sicko!”

Ghomeshi’s timing is everything: he’s of course very media-savvy, because he is media. So he’s well aware that if he creates a lens through which people should perceive things, that colours the conversation in his favour from go. (The “high-stakes” PR firm may be helping here, too.) As well, he has a massive platform and a large existing fan base who of course don’t want to hear that their darling might have done something wrong. All the odds are in his favour thus far.

Ghomeshi says he’s into a “mild version of Fifty Shades of Grey.” The anonymous accusers say he hit them with a closed fist and an open hand, beat them about the face and head, and choked them to the point of almost passing out, among other things. I’m gonna break out my Pervert Glasses to read what’s being said here about kink.

Face-punching and choking to the point of unconsciousness are absolutely some people’s kinks. But even among seasoned BDSM players, these acts are widely understood to be things you must do only with the most carefully negotiated consent, with a goodly amount of education and practice, and with the knowledge that they are highly risky. Beginner BDSM this is not. As a BDSM educator, I have been teaching how to do safe body punching for over a decade, and I don’t go near the face except symbolically (fake or very light impact for psychological effect). It’s just too easy to do major damage. I’m sure someone out there could teach you how to do it safely, but it won’t be me. As for choking, it’s a topic of massive debate among pervs, with some veteran kinksters even insisting that there is simply no safe way to do it and therefore shouldn’t be done at all. I’m not saying everyone agrees on the absolute-no approach. But I am saying that Ghomeshi’s argument that what he does is a “mild version of Fifty Shades of Grey” does not match up with his apparent practice of engaging in very high-risk activities with women he’s just beginning to date. If what they’re saying is true, that discrepancy alone is enough to make me highly suspicious of his “I’m a poor innocent kinkster” argument. A mild version of Fifty Shades would be some dirty talk (probably with poor grammar) and necktie bondage.

Another element of Ghomeshi’s pre-emptive strike that doesn’t add up is the reason he says he’s being fired. It doesn’t make sense that the CBC would fire Ghomeshi for being kinky. Remember the openly bisexual Sook-Yin Lee, who masturbated and had non-simulated sex on camera in the 2006 film Shortbus? She’s been working with the CBC for well over a decade, and while they initially considered letting her go when the controversial film was making headlines, support for her was so strong that they kept her on. Fast-forward eight years: the CBC knows that their audiences support even the very public sexual explorations of CBC stars. The CBC is of course also aware of Canada’s relatively permissive climate when it comes to sexual freedom. So why would the CBC not only fire the immensely popular Jian Ghomeshi for his supposedly mildly kinky “private sex life,” but to go so far as to bar him access to the building after doing so – and all of this already knowing he would sue? The CBC is not exactly in good shape right now. They don’t need another money drain and they certainly have no reason to do anything that would turn public opinion against them, while the Harper government quietly undermines their very existence.

Ghomeshi could be totally innocent. Four women could be making shit up, anonymously, because… well, I don’t know, but that itself might be an interesting question. For fun? What exactly would the motivation be for this supposed smear campaign, that four women would take part in it despite having evidence that when a previous woman made much milder accusations that don’t even explicitly name Ghomeshi, she was completely trashed on the Internet? Hmmm. This, too, doesn’t add up. Only the most hell-bent revenge-thirsty ex would take this on, knowing the likely consequences. Four women? Really?

Like I said… Ghomeshi could be totally innocent. I’m sure his many fans would like him to be. For now, I’m going to keep reading, with my critical thinking turned up high. I suggest we all do the same.

338 thoughts on “poor persecuted pervert?

  1. Thank you. I was a little worried that as a fan o’ kink you might just naturally jump on the Ghomeshi bandwagon. (Sooo many people are just leaping without looking there have GOT to be injuries.) This is one of the more carefully reasoned & measured arguments I’ve come across tonight.
    My thoughts are that the struggling CBC would not just drop its most popular (by far) show that just recently (according to Ghomeshi’s FB Page) launched into 100 more US markets without seriously compelling reasons. Because although we aren’t a litigious country, we do have that pesky Human Rights commission at the very least that he’d be able to take firing without merit to had he been a mere peon like the rest of us.
    I read the Star article first. So when I got to his account on Facebook that made it sound like he was using fuzzy pink handcuffs & feathers, I nearly snapped my iPad in half. Something stinks in Suburbia & I feel that at least 5 (Carla + 4 in the Star article) women have been victimized to some degree.
    I think the next couple of days will be interesting, there’s strength and safety in numbers. When women realize they’re not alone, I think the truth will come out.

    1. Thank you Andrea.
      Always appreciate your healthy perspective on things.

      Those of us that are not “50 shades of grey” oriented and committed to our BDSM educations and activities would certainly have a double take if allegations of “hit them with a closed fist and an open hand, beat them about the face and head, and choked them to the point of almost passing out ” were countered with “mild version of Fifty Shades of Grey”

      “If what they’re saying is true, that discrepancy alone is enough to make me highly suspicious of his “I’m a poor innocent kinkster” argument.”

      It is not so much that it makes me “suspicious”. It is just that things don’t “add up” as you so eloquently pointed out here. Ergo…. my gut says whoa on the “kinky rights” bandwagon. As details emerge… I am just a little jaded into thinking we may never fully know the whole truth. And public opinion… rather than proven facts or logic will rule the day either way or who one believes. But most certainly of the mind that this whole allegations mess deserves a heck of a lot more looking at for several reasons; just off the top of my own head.

      I too do not know this gentleman. I have no clue as to how he thinks or his public persona as well.

      Is he just a fellow pervert that has met the “attention whores” from hell? Is he just another wanna-be dommy, being wholly irresponsible, by “engaging in very high-risk activities with women he’s just beginning to date.” Or is he another sexual predator masquerading under a cutesy exterior and feigned innocence?

      What bother me at this level of knowledge so far, is that possibly “irresponsible” isn’t all that much of happy hug from sexual predator. And unfortunately having “4 people” allege of any type of sexual or physical assaults is a bit daunting (although not impossible in this age of “reality” famedom). I can see it either way to be fair on “allegations”. I really don’t know at this stage.

      And I too fear the ““don’t hate me for being kinky” defence” being used too easily by those that have no right to hide their crimes of violence behind something they would not understand in the first place (be they predator or irresponsible.) Informed and honest consent.

      Yep… I definitely need some more facts and consideration on my front…. before I call in the “kinky rights” clowns… Just my opinion.

    2. So it’s not o.k. to jump on the ghomeshi bandwagon, but perfectly alright to jump on the “I think he did it bandwagon” without having any such proof…. Got it!

      1. Better to believe that nine women are lying for reasons incredibly hard to imagine — because it’s so much fun to be vilified in public by total strangers? because the court system is such a lovely place for abuse victims? because ugh, women, that’s just how they are, they commit heinous crimes for fun all the time? Sure!

      2. Did you even read the entire article? If you did you would not make such a “stupid” comment. The article states to be thinking about it critically and not to jump on “any” bandwagon.

    3. I find you very insightful and logical in your thoughts. There is one element you did not mention. Eight years ago, Harper had not gutted the CBC yet plus he was not in a majority government. I believe the fear he has instilled in many departments (the one I work in included) could explain the trigger happy way they reacted to this situation.

    4. ” I feel that at least 5 (Carla + 4 in the Star article) women have been victimized to some degree.” You’re just jumping on a different bandwagon.

      You could be right, but evidence should not be judged in terms of number of accusers.

      The author wrote in this piece, “Four women could be making shit up, anonymously, because… well, I don’t know, but that itself might be an interesting question. For fun? What exactly would the motivation be for this supposed smear campaign.”

      Let’s keep in mind the SRA accusations and trials in the 80s, recovered memory syndrome, etc. Seemingly normal, sane people, not only children, come up with all sorts of memories and/or accusations. I’m not saying these woman haver recovered memories. My point here is only that there are *many* possible reasons why false accusations might be made, and not all of the conscious or deliberated.

      I’m not trying to criticize you…maybe I am. I dunno. I’m also tempted to make assumptions here. Let’s hang tight, see what happens, and try to observe the biases in public reaction, media, and ourselves. I hope something good is going to come out of all of this, cause I’m pretty sure it’s going to get ugly.

      1. “Let’s keep in mind the SRA accusations and trials in the 80s, recovered memory syndrome, etc.”

        How is this relevant? No one raised the issue of recovered memories until you did.

    5. Revenge is a dish best served cold and some time has past while these ladies prepared their case. No police files so far. No harassment charges up till now. And to go first to the employer with this complaint seems a bit cooked up to me. But those who like things rough must come very close to the line between sex and rape sometimes

      1. Ugh, seriously? Did you even read what she wrote? Gee, I wonder why these women wouldn’t go to the police, with such fine, upstanding citizens as yourself.

  2. I think if Jian Gomeshi is not a serial monogamist (which we should assume he is not), and if he has been something of a Light Bondage Lothario for many years is not it reasonable to assume that there might be a string of women who feel they’ve been wronged by him and who collectively despise him? I’m only trying to dig for possible motivations here so don’t crucify me.

    Maybe, just maybe, he’s a TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLE in his private life and in his dealings with women. Maybe he’s made a million promises to dozens of women and never ever come through. Maybe he’s the kind of guy that will say and do anything to get a woman to go to bed with him (they exist) and then turn prickish in the afterglow. Maybe he just sucks and is a shitty human being.

    But all of those things wouldn’t automatically mean he’s a serial sexual assaulter would it?

    How would it feel if you met someone who you knew was kinda famous (or maybe you were a fan of), who was capable of being devastatingly charming, who was really good at feigning interest in you, made you feel special and who got you to let your guard down (and your expectations up) only to have that person turn out to be about as charming as a pair of cold, wet socks. Be honest about how that would make you feel.

    I guess what I’m saying is, there is the possibility that this could be a form of revenge. Career assassinations have happened in the past and will happen again. Hitting him in the only vulnerable spot he has (where he works) may be the only actionable plan because, if he’s actually innocent of the worst offenses he’s been accused of there’s no other recourse. You can’t go to the cops because someone’s broken your heart. But you can try to fuck up their life.

    Everything needs to be held up to the clear light of day in cases like this because there’s only one cardinal rule – everybody lies.

    1. because women are just the kind of people who accuse others of heinous crimes because they’re miffed, right? nine of them. Sure, that’s very plausible!

  3. The “pre-emptive strike” was the XO Jane article, which contained a bunch of potentially libelous accusations by a writer whose hair / selfie jokes and celebrity name-dropping seriously undermined her credibility.

    You might want to reconsider the calibration on your critical thinking meter.

    1. No, you might want to rethink yours. So we’re judging innocence and guilt based on how one’s hair looks and whether they drop names, which they expressly admitted to doing for a REASON, now? That’s a new low. Actually, no, it’s not, that’s the form every rape that is laid at the door of the victim takes.

  4. Thank for you this, I’ve been kind of thinking the same thing, but could not say it as eloquently. His letter struck all the right notes to make this about sex shaming, and because he actively did it himself? I don’t know, it came off as manipulative. As if he was trying to play on the sex positivity of the CBC followers. I mean given that we were successful in getting Sook Yin Lee reinstated after she was fired for Shortbus, I am not shocked that he would attempt this if he was trying to downplay the allegations.

    I also think it’s possible that he actually does think everything he did is on the up and up. And if that is the case, from what I read of the allegations, it would make him a really bad dom. The subs read as far too inexperienced to not have been checked in with every 5 minutes. I feel since they admitted to trying, that they didn’t all know how to stop it, or how to negotiate a scene. And that is on him, and that is problematic, and he should be held to task for that.

  5. Also, I realize that I basically just reiterated everything you said in your own piece in my comment. So sorry if that came off as mansplaining, I just woke up and my brain is starting to catch up, as you might tell from the first statement. “Thank for you this” . Oy.

  6. a question for you Andrea… do you think Jian’s sex life will now explode and that he will attract a lot more women who have read plenty of 50 Shades of Grey?

  7. What you pointed out about the introductory kink vs experience definitely struck me as odd in this. I’d figure that Jian wouldn’t be jumping into the deep end with his particular fetishes with someone on their first date and that is probably a total newb to it. Maybe he thought some dirty text messages equaled consent, which seems foolish on his part. I haven’t read 50 Shades Of Grey, but my wife has. As I understood it Christian gradually molds Ana into being the person he wants as a lover. It’s not like they jumped into the deep end right away. That’s the part that doesn’t add up.

  8. To me the thing that adds up the least so far is, why wasn’t Ghoneshi fired “normally” for the sexual harassment? His Facebook statement insists that nothing went through HR, and I doubt the lawyers and PR people vetting the statement would have let that in if false, since it is easily proven. So the whole reporting, meeting, escalating sanctions thing in the workplace, which is supposed to happen, didn’t. This strongly suggests that the CBC stood by their man and swept those allegations under the rug, where they didn’t belong.

    Now they take the _pending_ Star investigative report as grounds for firing him. It seems that it is the nature of the allegations — not the documented pattern of creepiness and workplace harassment — that he was being fired for. And so perhaps this is about kink, after all?

  9. Thank you, Andrea. This is awesome input. I didn’t know what to think about this story. I don’t know the famous guy, and all I know is what I read so far. So I found myself in the same position as yours: wanting to advocate for bdsm, but obviously not wanting to support a rapist (or show no support for the victims). I still need more information on this story, and I’m glad that other people also refuse to jump to a hasty conclusion for the sake of kink. And celebrity too, for this story would be dealt with differently if the guy was not from the media.

  10. Oops, I was too quick hitting “send”. One more thing, speaking of celebrity: when should or can an employer fire (or suspend) someone? When they are suspected, accused, or convicted of a crime? Should it depend on whether the assumed fault impacts on your job? And are the rules different for celebrities or public figures?

  11. Great article.

    But I think your example of Sook-Yin Lee was a bit of a stretch. The CBC did fire her for what was clearly her decision to act in Shortbus. It took huge public outrage to reinstate her. If anything, that who affair proves the CBC people seem to always have one finger on the trigger.

    Other than that the points were 100% on.

  12. Thank you, very well balanced. Huff Post also did a good piece. We are talking about someones private and professional life being tossed into the gutter. Thoughtfulness and carefulness about everyone involved is important. Sadly, most will just pick a side and rant about it.

  13. Wow…your opinion sounds bang on. I don’t listen to his show so have no personal agenda to like, or dislike him. But I had the very same “gut reaction” that you did…albeit you have voiced it much more elegantly than I All I was able to come up with was “where there is smoke there is usually fire” Your reasoned approach made much more sense to me, it actually put words to what I was feeling but didn’t quite know how to express…

  14. “I want to hate f^# you” revealed more than a taste for rough sex. He harbours a deep and sadly unremarkable dislike of women. The CBC’s handling of the situation was clumsy but I am a fan of the show and I’m not sorry to see him gone. Every interview with a female artist will be tainted from here on, and it’s too late for chest-beating protests about respect for women and blah, blah, blah. We have seen who he is. Be off.

  15. Three questions:
    1. May the fact that there are many CPC donors on the CBC board have anything to do with the decision? They are more conservative people, I suppose.
    2. Why is he fired now and not last week on this summer? Is this (real… I don’t argue, it is real) case used to distract the public from laws harper wants to bulldoze through (C-36 being one)?
    3. Antonia Zerbizias from the Star says that if the CBC loses, it might spell its demise. See question one. What do you think?

  16. A lot of people have questioned the probability that four separate women are making this up as some sort of evidence that it is likely Gohmeshi is guilty of sexual harassment. I think it is important to note that Jesse Brown, a former CBC journalist, has been compiling this evidence. It is possible that Jesse Brown approached women he knew were romantically involved with Gohmeshi, interviewed them, found out they all had non-pleasurably sexual encounters with him that was consensual but aggressive, and has marshaled that as “evidence” that Gohmeshi is guilty of sexual assault As a BDSM educator, I’m would hazard to guess that you’ve come across a fair number of people into extreme BDSM in theory, but in practice, find out that it is not their cup of tea. If this was the case, and likely could be the case in four separate relationships, then it is the journalist who is marshaling this evidence for certain purposes (defamation), and not the women themselves who are leveling these accusations against Gohmeshi. These women may have not approached the police to charge him with sexual assault because a) They indeed consented to it and b) Are chalking up these encounters as awkward, unpleasant, and down-right- bad sexual experiences (Not all bad kinky sex is sexual assault, right?) This is all to say that I think that we cannot loose sight of another role that is instrumental in this scenario, and that is the role of the journalist.

  17. Have you considered that six years ago, Harper appointed Lacroix the head of the CBC and that is how it may differ from the treatment received by Sook Yin Lee?

  18. I’d like to say, as well, that I do think that you are astute to notice the difference between the BDSM aspect of this story, and an aspect that concenrs Gohmeshi’s alleged creepy sexual behaviour toward women. As far as Gohemeshi as a man with wandering hands and insenstive “flirting” skills, all I can say is, being a creep is not a good thing, but still not criminal. I don’t condone such behaviour, but I also think that trying to police every instance of when a creep is a creep won’t do us any good.

  19. I totally agree with you here. This is a great response. Ghomeshi is running interference, trying to cloud the judgment of those so in love with him. Much like he believed his mild celebrity could allow him to violate these women (if he did) he hopes his likability will weaken the boundaries of what is right and wrong. BDSM is your right. BDSM with someone who isn’t into BDSM is wrong.

  20. There’s more to that story than sex and kink. The CBC step is most interesting. I’m sure their lawyers were present when they made that decision.

  21. Thank you so much for writing this! You very clearly articulated why it’s important not to conflate BDSM/kink with predatory behavior, and how the public’s conflation of the two are likely the strategy used in that PR crafted statement to exonerate the latter.

  22. Thank you for raising questions and keeping an open – and sceptical – mind. Innocent until proven guilty, yes, but let’s also hope the women involved will feel safe and courageous enough to tell their stories, and that these stories will lead to a judgment that’s fair and just.

  23. I found your article via a post on Facebook. Like many I was prepared to side with Ghomeshi on the strength of employers have no business in our bedrooms. You’ve raised some excellent points here for the other side that I’d like to share alongside his letter. May I repost this on Facebook? (I don’t see sharing buttons on the post and wanted to be certain to have your permission).
    Thank you. ~ kei

  24. Very thoughtful. For me, too, the “milder 50 Shades” did not add up. The only thing I would say about the CBC firing that makes JG potentially different from SYL is precisely the timing, or perhaps I should call it the Harper factor. Unlike ten years ago, CBC execs may feel the corp can’t afford the suspicion of a perception of perversion (to borrow syntax from conflict of interest) – even from their one big remaining moneymaker. I too will keep watching carefully, and listening, because I care so much about everything in this story: the rights of women not to be molested or maligned, the thriving of multiple sexual pleasures in a context of mutual consent, smart public intellectualism in Canada… Thanks for this smart commentary.

  25. I do like what you’re saying and I think it’s crucial to be critical of what the media and even Jian are shovelling at us. But there is a glaring problem with what you have said here. Sook Yin Lee was in fact fired from the CBC following Shortbus. It wasn’t until the CBC suffered severe backlash that she got her job back. This omission or misrepresentation of fact makes that paragraph a fallacy.

  26. One thing that bothered me further about this is, for someone famous the bar for consent should be elevated. How could Ghomeshi not know that a non-famous young woman may be psychologically bowed to his authority? I hope he would know and understand this. My eye will be on how much further did he press and demand honest and unbiased consent than the “typical” situation for this lifestyle.

  27. Excellent Post! Having enjoyed Jian’s show since returning to Canada I am disappointed that his intelligence did not carry over into his kink/private life.

    The BDSM lifestyle has been safely practiced for many years. Privately by numerous celebrities without their exposure or job loss… BDSM rules 101 = Safe, Sane & Consensual.

    Sadly, the fact that he was considered “Persian Catnip” by most straight (non bdsm practitioners) young ladies in TO made them considerably more vulnerable to his advances. Any seasoned Dom (male or female) has respect for their submissive’s limits, has done the required research on the area of interest and discussed IF their partner would consent well in advance.

    Rarely would such an act be suggested at the workplace or a straight nightclub by a true dominant. Mr. Egocentric needed a proper mentor after reading 50 shades of grey. Needless to say, the main stream exposure has ruined the fun in the past 20 yrs.

    Perhaps the CBC’s settlement will give him peace and time to re assess and reflect on his actions and interests… Regardless, the next few days are going to be rather humiliating to the “Q” man.

  28. Reblogged this on Safety Beyond Safewords and commented:
    As I was crafting my post for this week, I came across this blog post by Sex Geek on some minor Canadian celebrity. I think this post does a fantastic job delineating all the things that are wrong about this situation. The issue is not that this guy is kinky. The issue is that he violated someone’s consent and tried to use what status he had to minimize these women’s concerns and did not respect their “no.” I get very touchy when people try to use kink, or any form identity, really, to justify or rationalize bad behavior.

    Also, I really need to start following this blog. Because awesome.

  29. Well-written and thought out, prompting further consideration of the wider implications of these accusations.

    The problem with “Fifty Shades of Grey” (and other pulp BDSM/Erotica) is that it paints an unrealistic and dark image of kinky sex play, especially BDSM and leads the uninitiated are tempted to dabble in it without understanding the amount of trust and respect necessary for successful “rough play.”

    It can be pleasurable to take sex to a dark place but without mutual trust and respect it can easily tread into dangerous ground and escalate into violence. Consenting to one level of play or an act does not imply consent to all acts/explorations. Consent to rough play or bondage does not equal consent to abuse, violence, or rape.

    A little mystery and danger can be an aphrodisiac but some people play on this in order to victimise others. I think you make a good distinction here about Ghomeshi’s “poor innocent kinkster” defence and the fact that four women have come forward with complaints of abuse.

    Many (if not most) survivors of violent sexual abuse do not come forward because of the re-victimisation they suffer through interrogation and handling by first responders, and accusations and defamation suffered through the legal process, not to mention media attention and online abuse. For four woman to brave those storms and report his actions as violent abuse must count for something.

    I agree, we should withhold judgement and follow, engaging in critical thought as much as humanely possible when dealing with such an emotionally charged subject.

  30. Wow…your opinion sounds bang on. I don’t listen to his show so have no personal agenda to like, or dislike him. But I had the very same “gut reaction” that you did…albeit you have voiced it much more elegantly than I All I was able to come up with was “where there is smoke there is usually fire” Your reasoned approach made much more sense to me, it actually put words to what I was feeling but didn’t quite know how to express…

  31. Great blog! I am fairly experienced as well and was thinking the exact same thing. I think part of the problem is our rape culture and people thunkig that any woman who is sexual is “asking for it”.

  32. Great perspective. I’ve found myself experiencing a whole range of emotions about this, and my mostly-emotional response has been in favor of Ghomeshi. I found your article really useful, thanks for sharing.

  33. This case highlights a big problem with the BDSM community in general. IF there are consensual people asking for this kind of hardcore treatment, then getting upset because they receive it, then who really is to blame? Not agreeing or justifying the extreme stuff, but people need to take responsibility if they want it and then get upset they didn’t like the behavior. This whole case smells like a witch hunt, and just more evidence that the feminists can use to say “all men are scum” no matter how good or ethical a person they are.

    You ask what the difference is between Jian and Soo Yuk? Well she is a woman, and women are allowed to engage in such non-normal behaviors and be forgiven for it. But there is a element of our society that sits in the shadows and waits to hang any man who dare attempt the same sort of BDSM lifestyle.

    Sure a lot of men who do not give a dam can manage quite well announcing they are into BDSM. But any of us with a working life or social life that depends on maintaining a public face are very reluctant to be outed or admit to such bedroom practices.

    I am no fan of this Jian guy or his show, but I know a lynch mob forming when I see it. What ever the case against this guy turns out to be, I am glad to see he is taking the initiative on the fight. He is popular and his career will survive the public outing. The rest of us on the other hand would not. I have seen how malicious females have destroyed the life of men who simply dabbled in BDSM, often at the request of those women. It almost happened to me as well. My own career in the movie industry was destroyed for good when I was falsely accused by some primadonna scumbag that just made stuff up to get rid of me – because she could.

    Lets face it. When it comes to be a man in this society you are already set up to be guilty on any accusation. You are condemned no matter what you say in your own defense. Lets hope that this case promotes some sensible talk about how men are made victims of lying heartless female predators. It is a discussion long over due in public circles.

    1. Sook Yin Lee was engaging in entirely consensual sex with people for artistic purposes. That is inherently much less morally problematic than someone allegedly causing physical harm without consent to sex partners, regardless of gender.

  34. All very good. Of course, sliding in an immaterial slam on Harper means I won’t be back. Not that I give a damn about Harper… it’s that I give a damn about staying on message & being forthright about why you’re here. These little political asides are there for my own good, I’m sure, sly boots.

  35. A woman scorned could provide the momentum to get this scandal up and running. Read the book Gone Girl and recently saw the movie. If you feel you have been wronged – getting even may be the next best thing. Possibly, because of Jian’s popularity he has got away with more than he should have in the past. These allegations might be what he needs in the way of a reality check. Hopefully with further unbiased reports coming forward the true story might unfold.
    If both Jian and the CBC can keep their egos in check, allowing for some forgiveness should one of them prove to be wrong this story might just end well.
    I just listened to an interview Jian did with Whitney Houston’s Mom and how she talked about people taking advantage of her daughter and how this damaged her reputation. Some people will do anything to attach themselves to the rich and famous. Whitney’s Mom worried constantly about this but could do nothing to ward off those wanting to take advantage of her daughter.
    The ex-girlfriends probably agreed to do things they were uncomfortable with just to be with Jian. He probably ignored their apprehension and assumed their consent was because they liked him and not because of who he was. The CBC are trying to look “Squeaky Clean” so are taking the high road not really siding with anyone. It would be good for everyone to come clean on their true intentions if they know them and get it out in the open so all can move on with their lives. Everyone should come out of this a little wiser when the truth is known.
    No doubt there are some hurt people here because there must always be a victim. This is the sad part but inevitable.

  36. Wow. This has my vote for the “Best Written and Thought-Out Blog Article of the Year” award. I write a wine blog and work in the wine industry in BC but have been listening to Jian on CBC since moving here. This story was a big shock when I woke up this weekend. A friend of mine posted a link to this article on FB and I’m totally impressed with the way you presented everything. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Only time will tell about how this story will play out, but so far it’s looking sad for all involved.

  37. I agree with almost everything here, but I want to add that my skepticism extends to all parties in this sad saga. After all, these women did not want to go public with their accusations, but then they did… via reporters. It’s not a stretch to imagine that they have their own (undeclared) interests in making these claims, in this way, or in the case of the reporters, in bringing this story to light. There’s not enough “on the record” to judge. I absolutely believe that Ghomeshi was engaging in preemptive damage control. I can’t discern whether that invalidates his position. I have no idea whether he: ) is entirely right about his behaviour; b) truly believes his behaviour was consensual, but completely misapprehends the feelings of these women or what they agreed to; or c) has reason to believe that his actions were not acceptable, but is naturally defending himself by claiming they were. No way to know.

    I would, however, take issue with claiming that Carla Ciccone was being “trolled”. I read that whole piece (http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/non-date) and found it to be self-serving and confusing. Just what was she accusing “keith” of doing other than correctly reading her interest (when she though he was “harmless” and “gay”, but connected to other celebrities) at the outset, and not reading signals she herself describes as mixed? He rubbed her back? An awful lot of people would regard some touching as reasonable in such situations (but whether it was or was not only those involved could say). Even if his touching was unwanted, it doesn’t seem to rise to the level of an assault, or even anything beyond a garden-variety bad date. So there are plenty of commentators who took issue with her piece, because it seems to some of us to be shameless self-promotion which, in the end, does more to obscure the boundaries between actual sexual assault and mere discomfort with very limited unwanted attention. It does a disservice to real victims, as well as to “keith”, whoever he may be. (It should be said she leaves little to the imagination, and virtually calls him out by name). Most of those people haranguing her are not “trolls”. They are the voices of reason IMHO.

    [Although, of course, there are actual trolls on the page as well]

    1. Well said. The critiques of Carla Ciccone are not equivalent to what MRAs say about Anita Sarkeesian. Ciccone keeps playing on the fact that she is 15 years younger than Keith… making her what? 32? Not exactly a babe in the woods. She also repeatedly says that there is nothing she can do to help herself out of the situation. How about being honest with Keith about how she’s feeling? Plus she makes him out to be almost a stalker for wanting to see her home safe after she pretends illness. What a jerk.

      She says at the beginning of her article that she wants to go out with him to help her career. His biggest crime seems to be his obliviousness to the fact that he is being used, and insists on acting like their date was a date.

  38. I was once falsely accused of non-consensual topping. I publicly denounced my accuser in a community meeting. Some disapproved, but my reputation was at stake. I’ve no idea if this man is guilty, so I’ll go with the presumption of innocence and wait for the rest of the story.

  39. Just a note on your balanced view: Sook Yin Lee was actually fired and it was a week or two before public pressure saw her back her chair.

    Here’s my question: if you know your lover is into kink and you’re not, but you still say yes, and you say yes multiple times, then what? The person bringing these allegations had what sounds like a many-months-long relationship with Ghomeshi…. Is she now exhibiting regret over having made the details of their relationship public? If so, she will have done more damage than just to another person’s reputation; she will have set back by many decades the progress we’ve made societally regarding appropriate treatment of each other where it comes to consensual sex.

    Ghomeshi’s a weirdo. He’s never been shy about that and it’s pretty well known “around town.” But being a weirdo shouldn’t pre-dispose one to having their life ruined any more than being a female who has legitimately been victimised.

  40. Just a note on your balanced view: Sook Yin Lee was actually fired and it was a week or two before public pressure saw her back in her chair.

    Here’s my question: if you know your lover is into kink and you’re not, but you still say yes, and you say yes multiple times, then what? The person bringing these allegations had what sounds like a many-months-long relationship with Ghomeshi…. Is she now exhibiting regret over having made the details of their relationship public? If so, she will have done more damage than just to another person’s reputation; she will have set back by many decades the progress we’ve made societally regarding appropriate treatment of each other where it comes to consensual sex.

    Ghomeshi’s a weirdo. He’s never been shy about that and it’s pretty well known “around town.” But being a weirdo shouldn’t pre-dispose one to having their life ruined any more than being a female who has legitimately been victimised.

  41. Reblogged this on merlinspielen and commented:
    More thoughts on the Jian “Gone-Messy” (Ghomeshi) story…nothing like a kinky Canadian sex-scandal. But as the article points out: Is this really about sex and sexualk choices? Or more about power and real consent?

  42. The question for me is – Did any of the women have a second encounter with him? because if so, their stories lose all credibility. If I go on a date with someone and he starts beating and choking me, the first thing I would do is go to the police, and I definitely wouldn’t be returning for seconds.

  43. A filthy pervert…. Hey I would agree with the pervert thing but I have 800 friends on facebook and for 6 months it seamed like one in every four post was a woman swooning over Christian Grey. I started feeling like the minority that has no interest in BDSM. Regarding Jian…it should be easy as pie to see if this was consensual or not. Nothing happens without leaving an electronic trail. What I found dubious in this story is these women were found by a freelance writer. “Freelance writer” is code for flat freakin broke. So where is this story? Someone needed to vet the story and it was never published…why?

    1. Her name is Carla Ciccone and she published a hatchet job article about “Keith” (a very thinly disguised Jian Ghomeshi) over on XOJane.

      This story was then investigated by the Toronto Star but they had decided not to publish a story due to the explosive nature of the allegations and because of the anonymity of the witnesses, I believe. After Jian got fired and made his FB post about it, the Toronto Star reversed its decision and published an article this morning. It is the source of all we know about the women and their accusations.

  44. A couple things that stand out from your thoughts… “If what they’re saying is true” In my experience, in the BDSM community and even outside of it… people get their feelings hurt and react… most often very poorly. First, with self-deception; a twisting of the truth to appease their own egos, and then that is followed with lies about it to others. I’ve been a ‘victim’ of this myself. I ignored it all and went about my business. I’m not a public figure though. I found out who my true friends were when those that believed the tales stopped talking to me, didn’t even consult me or question me on it, and chose to spread more gossip about it instead. I was even evicted from my home because of it. No, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen it happen to other people throughout my life as well. He starts seeing someone new a few months after a break up and then all this ‘drama’ starts up? Boy is that a familiar scenario. We live in a society where emotional reactions are justified and encouraged – even negative ones – and emotional intelligence is seen as un-empathetic, un-compassionate, discouraged as being ‘wrong’ and I’ve even heard it called ‘not being human’. Ironic as I consider myself a socialist and a humanist. Thoughtful discourse is a rarity in my experience. It’s why I appreciated Ghomeshi’s statement as well as the statements his other co-workers have made, much more than the others. I’m unfamiliar with him or his show, but upon doing my reading – it was just all too familiar to me. Questioning his innocence because you can’t understand the motivations of these women is not a very good argument in my opinion. The motivations seem clear and familiar to me having lived through it. Further, examples of the same kind of behaviour are all over the newspapers, magazines and internet. It’s really not anything new. Ignorance is rampant in all levels of our society – not just the low socio-economic section of it – contrary to the popular myth denoting otherwise. A very conservative – and suppressive – myth in my opinion. Especially since I’m considered a part of the ‘low socio-economic’ section of our society. A pretty intolerable place to live let me tell you.
    The other thing I’d like to point out: Unfortunately the CBC is a VERY different body than it was eight years ago. Please take note of our country’s current leadership and the fact that he’s had his hands in our CBC. The changes throughout in the last few years may have been subtle, but there have been definite changes.
    And as far as your views that “in the Canadian context specifically, this strategy is not as risky as it might seem. We pride ourselves as being an open-minded society”… This may be true in some of our popular urban cities, but what popular urbanites forget is just how large our country is. There is not openness where I am. There is no ‘coming out’ for most of the members in my community. And I live in an urban environment. And within a 100km of Toronto. I suspect that a lot of other people in our community are dealing with the same kind of close-mindedness and prejudices as well.
    You made some decent points and certainly have me thinking which is always great, but while reading this blog post, I felt like I was reading the thoughts of someone who lives no where near the country I live in.
    Thank you for sharing though. 🙂

  45. I read his letter and now I am reading this. I agree to the waiting game to see what the truth really is. There are 3 sides to any story, his, hers and the truth. We will see when it hits the courts.

  46. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful post. You raised very valid points. There is a danger as BDSM goes mainstream that the standards (sane, safe, consensual) which have been the hallmarks of the community are not understood by the general public. As you wrote, something is stinking there. What is described are high risks activities that most veteran doms wont do.

  47. Reblogged this on About Meg and commented:
    A good article; knowledgeable and thorough. It is true, we have to keep listening and thinking when people come forward to complain about assaults.I am still listening.

  48. Certainly a worthwhile commentary. I love your perspective.

    Still, I don’t think you’re being entirely fair regarding Jian’s argument. You reduce his defense to the “persecuted pervert,” as though he entirely overlooked the issue of consent. In fact, Jian’s post was almost all about the issue of consent.

    True, Jian “coloured” the narrative by posting about it, but he was honest about that. If you think about it, he would have felt obligated to mention the BDSM, given that part of the ‘pattern of behaviour’ being attached to him by the accusers included violence.

    Even while ‘reserving judgement’ we should be a little reflexive: a cynic would see Jian’s post as an attempt to control the story in spite of the truth, but a skeptic would recognize the ways in which all truth is justified and contingent.

  49. Thanks for writing this I have always been a big fan of Q but something about Gomeshi’s poor misunderstood perv defence is triggering my bullshit meter and I think it’s important that we kinksters don’t blindly close ranks around a potential abuser.

  50. This is the best analysis of the situation that I have read. Thank you so much for this piece.

    As somebody who has known (thankfully indirectly) a sex offender, I feel thankful about your acknowledgement that this situation leaves more to be uncovered. Sex offenders of all kinds often are successful in what they do because they are manipulative and charming; thus people (romantic partners, and non-romantic peers) have a difficult time believing that they could engage in non-consensual and/or illegal behaviour. Now, since nothing has been proven about Jian Ghomeshi, I won’t mudsling, and will even go so far as to say that he’s a great musician and radio host. HOWEVER, this does not prevent me from taking these allegations seriously. We absolutely need to give credit to stories of abuse. Always. Otherwise it continues to perpetuate a culture where the abused and manipulated are afraid to come forward.

    I also agree that the whole affair with Sook Yin Lee casts a shadow over Jian’s claims. If consent was as clear as he said it was, why her and not him?

  51. I am so incredibly relieved that someone in the BDSM community wrote this. It really, really needed to be said and you said it better than I ever could. Reading comments about this over the last 24 hours made me sick to my stomach.

  52. Great perspective. This is one of the best weighted analysis around this early news event.
    I will only say that while trolls certainly may be attacking Ciccone, I take issue with her terrible writing, faux distress and obvious self interest foremost.

  53. I think what bothers me is that Ghomeshi says his ex went through his phone to find numbers of other women. That sounds plausible because how else did she know whom to call? I wasn’t in the room when the alleged harm was done, but I do wonder how one woman could round up four of Ghomeshi’s former partners so easily. Would Ghomeshi really dish that much information about four previous lovers? He is known to be intensely private–most Canadians who cared assumed he was gay!

    If a man did that to me — looked up four former flames — I would feel violated, full stop. I would drop a man like a hot potato if he thought there was nothing wrong with doing that.

    So calling other women Ghomeshi may have slept with, to compare notes, isn’t exactly kosher either, especially when the woman doing the calling had been with him for two years. I’ve inadvertently dated abusive men too (in my 20s) and I did not have relationships with them that lasted two years. And notice these were “dating” relationships and not marriages.These facts combined pose a serious credibility problem for the jilted ex and is not one that can be easily explained away. When and how did she acquire their personal contact information? Why did she only contact them after the end of her relationship with Ghomeshi?

    The next tricky thing is his status as a radio personality. Obviously none of these relationships Ghomeshi had ended in a permanent partnership and so there is the chance that there are some hurt feelings among these women.They may feel the rejection a bit more keenly given his status. It’s conceivable that one woman was able to manipulate underlying feelings of the others by asking “Who the hell does he think he is?” and parlaying their feelings into creating an exaggerated version of his proclivities. The fact that four women were contacted by one and then joined forces, when only one, in a work context, complained before, just seems odd to me. This all has the whiff of vindictiveness, in my opinion.

    The reference to Sook-Yin Lee is a non-starter. She’s a woman doing something sexually extraordinary, which makes her actions interesting, but not dangerous. This is a story about an apparently normal and attractive man having “harmed” and “done damage” to women who were non-consenting. It’s the danger that’s the difference, so I’m not surprised that the CBC left the bi-sexual Sook-Yin Lee alone.

    1. If Ghomashi is a sadistic narcissist, its likely that the ex went through the process of contacting the other women to validate her feelings. Victims of master manipulators often need to go through the process of uncovering the past to see the pattern of abuse.

    2. “This is a story about an apparently normal and attractive man having “harmed” and “done damage” to women who were non-consenting.”

      Using quotation marks to suggest that punching and choking does not do harm seems rather sketchy.

  54. I agree with everything (save one anecdote) and thank you for writing this. Regarding that anecdote, I would like to add that the bash on Harper was totally unfounded seeing as his cabinet is completely supportive of gay marriage and well-respected people working in his office are open with their “alternative” sexuality.

  55. I appreciate your perspective from the BDSM community and that you are applying critical thinking to this. I wonder if there are a few other elements that should be looked at. From what I can tell so far there is Jian’s story (which he has published) the women’s stories (which they have published through the media) and CBC’s story (which they have been fairly vague about). You are right that we as Canadians and CBC listeners are able to separate people from their bedroom choices provided they are consensual. If they aren’t then we have built in systems to deal with that. If it is occurring in the workplace (especially a corporate workplace) we have Human Resources departments that take sexual harassment accusations very seriously and if it is in our private lives we have police and courts to deal with the criminality of the accused acts. Neither of these two avenues were used by these women and I have to agree with Jian – why was the avenue of the media used? Why did this woman go through his contact information to gather others together? With Facebook and cell phones Is this behaviour okay? I also think there is a huge opportunity for our society to start talking about the implications of women (predominantly) claiming sexual abuse of some sort against men (predominantly) and the implications of these unfounded accusations on men’s careers. Obviously if these accusations are true (especially in the workplace) then careers will be impacted but if they are found to be untrue then the effects can never be reversed. I am proud that our society has moved to a point of listening to complaints of abuse and investigating. I am not proud of the automatic assumption that in every instance women are the victim and men are the abusers. At this point with nothing in the courts or no investigations before the CBC HR department someone has had to reveal intimate details about himself and for that I think this is wrong. Everyone now has an opinion about someone in something that is very private, can never be taken back and at this point is very much he said/she said. I also feel that CBC could have handled this in the same way that Coronation Street handled two of their actors facing criminal sexual assault accusations. They wrote the characters out of the story until such time as it was proven in a court of law their guilt and when they were both found not guilty they were brought back into the show. CBC could have encouraged Jian to take some time to get his personal life sorted out and when the results of that came through they could have made an appropriate decision. I like you am not saying Jian is right or wrong but I do think CBC could have shown more loyalty to their employee.

    1. But that’s what CBC tried to do. It was Jian who refused.And as to why the media was used – it’s a way to get the story out, to warn other women, and keep your anonymity. Because if their names get out they will get rape threats, doxxed, and pressure on their employers to fire them. This is what has happened to any woman in recent memory who accused a male celebrity of assault.

  56. I dont agree the article made it sound like he used fuzzy pink handcuffs. His saying “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” left me thinking he leaned to a harder kink than most of us would care to try. I have no judgement either way… to each their own. I do not condone any sort of harassment or violence that is in itself the turnon. I do however believe in the innocent until proven guilty. We can all surmise what we will about what has transpired but its not based in anything but reading between the lines. If Gian has gone beyond what constitutes consentual activities then that will come out as this all moves forward. I dont believe the writer of this blog has an inside knowledge of whats happened…. dont go in the opposite direction of the supporters with conjecture… he will get whats coming… $50,000,000 or public shame and a suitable end to his blossoming career and maybe some jail time we will see.

  57. You make some great points. Thanks for helping me decode this. The only thing that’s changed in 8 years though is that Harper is circling around the CBC and has been since he became PM. This would be a perfect opportunity to shut them down or put restrictions on them in exchange for funding. Otherwise, yeah his claims and their claims about the level of kink don’t add up.

  58. THANK YOU. Thoughtful and informative. I share your call for all of us, particularly we feminists to do as you suggest and read and and listen and talk before rushing to judge the guy as an abusive pervert or worse who belongs in jail. But I also believe that what you have written opens up the possibility for MORE education for people like me who have ALWAYS been sexually curious and experimental and support the idea that our sexuality itself has been in puritan bondage for far too long. However, I think you may have a rather unrealistic idea of just what the public or even ME will accept in terms of BDSM. It’s normal for folks in your “community” to feel like it’s larger than it may be. That too is a dangerous assumption. Just cuz you and your community think a practise is okay does not make it acceptable behavior necessarily. When you start discussing what “perv’s” think about strangling and face punching, what’s acceptable and what’s not…. I gotta say you completely loose me cuz I just don’t get why that’s not a pathological manifestation of uncontrollable rage /misogeny or any one of a number of labels and NOTHING to do with sexuality, preferences, exploration and the like. It’s a reflection of a super dangerous trend in our society of alienated repressed rage behavior. I applaud and encourage exploration of ANY KIND… but do you really think that you can make “rules” about smashing someone in the face and make those rules appear to be “sensible”?? or worse have expectations that they will be adhered to in your “perv community”? I encourage all open exploration / experimentation as I’ve said here repeatedly but the goal it seems to me, is more profound intimacy due to more profound trust and consequently more “pleasure” (however you define that). I am sure even “sexy kinky perverts or what ever the hipster name is” would agree that in general sex for all sorts of reasons has become more and more impersonal, objectifying, thrill seeking, and less and less to do with the creative and exciting adrenylin rush that comes from developing trust and intimacy with another human being thru consentual means. Going to the edge of anything is a fabulous high. It’s also a tremendous risk. Sexuality is so complex and we have spent so little time talking about these issue openly that shit can backfire in an instant and mame and even kill participant… SO more communication about this subject is CRUCIAL. Thanks again.

  59. So what happens if these women do nothing more? If they do not go to the police and it is a case of he aid/she said, then what? Do we arbitrarily assume the Stars account of things is correct and not entertain the idea that maybe this is indeed two reporters trying to carve out a larger piece of the media pie and using a jaded ex-lover as a means to that end? Or do we assume that this is indeed a violent, misogynist predator that needs to be brought down off his pedestal?

    If it’s the latter then I hope these woman, and perhaps more, will have the courage to come forward in some capacity and bring their stories to light. If it is proven otherwise then I think the CBC is dead in the water.

  60. The only people who know the truth are Ghomeshi & the 4 women. Everything else is assumption and conjecture. Hopefully the full story will come out soon but until then, there’s this thing in this country called “innocent until proven guilty”.

  61. I read your article with an open mind as I have all pertaining to the topic. The CBC would be aware that there must be “just cause” in ridding themselves of “Keith” or Jian or whatever he answers to. This tells me there must be some form of sexual harassment allegation and enough evidence to ask him to take a hike. If that’s the case, it may very well end up a “he said, she said” scenario and the one with the better lawyer will emerge the victor. But I can also see my 80 year old mother-in-law and all those stuffy, staunch, overly educated, high brow CBC listeners, turning the CBC off in disgust if Ghomeshi is successful in his bid to be reinstated. Good God, I hope Rex Murphy doesn’t have any skeletons in his good closet.

  62. “A danger inherent… is that the ‘don’t hate me for being kinky’ defence will be used by people who perpetrate non-consensual violence, and that we, as a community, will stand by uncritically – or worse, cry out in support – as victims of violence are once again silenced.”

    Did he perpetrate non-consensual violence?

  63. Really liked your point on CBC’s strong response to the situation.

    My guess is they’re responding specifically to the workplace ass grab. No matter how creative you might get with redefining the occasionally grey areas of consent, this is the clear, damning behaviour of a sexual predator.

  64. I am not into kink, I do not get it, appreciate it, or understand it but if that is someone’s way of doing things then so be it. I honestly think that the CBC would not fire someone due to their sexual proclivities, but they would if there were legitimate complaints regarding sexual predator behaviour, and that to me is the crux of the matter, not what Jian Ghomeshi does in private sexually. There are now four women and even though only one has been named via her blog, they are being insulted and shamed by Jian Ghomeshi’s fan base, that kind of fear and undeserved hatred and vilification would be more than enough to keep someone from coming forward. Just look how women who are abused and raped are treated by people who do not believe them, especially if the accused are famous! It is shocking and sad. I did not like that he compared his kink to 50 Shades of Grey ( those books were and are awful and I think are an insult to those who do engage in kink, not to mention the grammar), I also did not like that he painted himself the victim of spiteful, angry women who are upset because he did not want to be their boyfriend anymore, (that is a tired cliche and paints the women as lame characterizations out of that sexist one dimensional ‘bunny boiler’ trope). I thank-you for writing this piece you have given a lot of food for thought and presented that there are indeed two sides to every story and the truth will out.

  65. Thank you for this informative article. I have survived sexual assault, I’ve survived a vengeful ex who came close to destroying me and I am fond of Jian Ghomeshi. I am not picking a side. Instead, I’m reading as much as possible so that no matter the outcome, I will be satisfied with my own conclusions. Again, thank you. You’ve given me another perspective on which to build my stance.

  66. You have provided really careful, detailed scrutiny of a situation that seems to be inspiring hyperbole everywhere else. I tend to agree with your analysis–& further, I think there is a problem here, unfortunately, & he has done harm.

  67. Very interesting analysis. I’d like to point out one minor fact. It’s common practice for employers to deny access to buildings, computer networks, etc. that are employer property once an employee has been fired or laid-off. Ghomeshi’s treatment was not unusual.

  68. One very minor point; at this stage we do not really have claims from four anonymous women. What we have is claims from Jesse Brown that there exist four anonymous women who are making claims.

      1. Doesn’t mean a thing. Under Canadian Libel and Slander law, newspapers are incredibly difficult to sue. They have protections ordinary people do not have, and even if they didn’t, they have deep pockets. Libel and Slander litigation is time consuming, soul wrenching and expensive.

  69. Few things….
    1. Sex is not akin dating. Many relationships are based on sex alone including bdsm relationships.
    2. It is VERY common for people who have been fired to be banned from the building in which they were employed.
    3. canada and canadians are open minded to sex?? Maybe in comparrison to america but otherwise thats a fucking joke.
    4. You are comparing sook yin acting in a film to allegations of abuse and admitted sexual proclivaties. That is not the same. And even you pointed out that she almost got fired for it. Clearly the CBC is a little uptight.
    5. Just because you never hit anyone in the face doesnt mean that TONS of people havent. You kind of go back and forth on that a little.
    6. I can give you LOTS of reasons that people would accuse Jian and just be making it up.

    Im not saying he is innocent.. but lets be honest, theres a difference between having a critical eye and just plain criticizing. Your mind isnt open. Its made up.

    1. Amen…and that’s the problem with our new world of social media…many people lazily want someone to make their minds up for them and rely on convenient buzz words which they then repeat by rote…and there’s all too many people like this supposed “objective” commentator (with an obvious attitude) seeking…mmmm whatever…all at the expense of Mr. G and more importantly, our free society.

    2. 1) I don’t see where the original poster (OP) implies sex is akin to dating (if that’s what you meant to say).
      2) Excellent point, the OP certainly added this little detail like it helped prove a point. I work at a public sector organization where long standing employees are prohibited from returning to the building, despite having retired on perfectly good terms.
      3) Colourful hyperbole aside, Canadian culture is pretty different than American culture on certain social issues. In my experience Canadians, comparatively, are more cosmopolitan and tolerant than their neighbours to the south. I agree with the OP’s argument – that someone framing their plight as a “wrongly persecuted pervert” will find much more sympathy among the general Canadian population versus the American.
      4) The OP is simply saying that a society that has accepted Sook Yin’s activities (8 years ago) is not unlikely to accept another public figure who admits to engaging in consensual BDSM (which after all, is the root of Ghomeshi’s position).
      5) The OP presents themselves as someone knowledgeable of and experienced with the BDSM scene and its (norms?), and from this position, simply says of face punching that, “beginner BDSM this is not”. That seems believable. It’s possible that there’s a whole world of consensual lovers out there punching each other in the face as you contend may be the case – but I find the OP’s reasonable tone and description of the norms of the scene to be more believable than otherwise.
      6) There are certainly instances where multiple persons have coordinated to falsely accuse a person or persons of criminal behaviour, and that may very well be the case here, but that can’t be determined at this point with the minimal facts at hand.

      In summary, you make up your mind that the OP has made up their mind, whereas the OP finishes saying that Ghomeshi could be innocent, but that the OP intends to keep a critical thinking cap on. The OP’s mind is still open, but yours does not seem to be.

    3. Sook-Yin wasn’t acting. She was actually performing those sex acts within a fictional narrative. There was no faking. She wasn’t fired because the sex acts were borderline mainstream in 2006 and that is what her fellow famous actors were arguing.

      Ghomeshi went to the CBC and explained how the otherwise violent acts were consensual, so there’s no question of his innocence. He hasn’t filed slander and libel actions against the jilted lover and others. The CBC’s decision was squarely based on the inappropriateness of that kind of violent sex.

      There is an allegation that a staffer alleged that he made an unwelcome remark about having violent consensual sex with her. That is sufficiently outside mainstream office behaviour as to create a toxic work environment. Having to turn down a fellow employee’s invitation on a date, isn’t the same has having to turn down a famous powerful fellow employee’s invitation to violent sex. It’s intimidating: not something women and men should have to deal with while on the job.

      1. Just to clarify: grabbing a colleague’s ass and telling her that you want to hate fuck her isn’t ‘an unwelcome remark about having violent consensual sex with her’. It’s sexual harassment. I don’t know if he did it (and I hope he didn’t). But that act, particularly coming from a colleague with a lot more power, is textbook sexual harassment.

      2. I believe the issue is one of CONSENT and NOT the appropriateness or inappropriateness of that kind of violent sex.

      1. For the ex, it could be revenge. Although it seems non-intuitive that someone would make up something this malicious because they are upset over a break-up, the growing problem of revenge porn proves that people can act pretty crazy when dumped.

      2. He gave Julian Assange a soap box, and hasn’t been a rah rah supporter of US and Canadian military adventurism abroad, like Cross Canada Check-Up host Rex Murphy.

        Before the last Gulf War, a weapons inspector who would not support the narrative that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was accused of child molestation.

        The powers that be play hard ball.

      3. “He gave Julian Assange a soap box, and hasn’t been a rah rah supporter of US and Canadian military adventurism abroad, like Cross Canada Check-Up host Rex Murphy.”

        Why is the Toronto Star still intact? Why haven’t other Canadians been attacked?

    4. Your point 5. Um… you really think that TONS of people consent to being punched in the face in sexual situations? Do you have some kind of evidence to back this up, because I’m personally quite involved in the kink community online and in my city, and it is a rather minute contingent of the community that would even attempt it, and certainly not in any casual sexual context. This is partly due to liability: in the legal context, you cannot consent to assault such as punching and choking anyways. The courts are not going to try and discern whether you could have given informed and continued/ongoing consent to assault.

      But mainly, I think you are missing the point. The author is pointing out that face-punching and extreme choking are not “mild” forms of kink, or “50 Shades of Grey” kink which is what Ghomeshi is stating in his message.

  70. Ciccone’s piece came out a year ago, she never yet has been prepared to name him. Also Anne Theriault has been badmouthing him for about as long. Those four women (of whom I think only three are saying they were abused by him) have never once gone to the police or a support agency, only his employer and the media. Which I call questionable.

    People can only say “they were scared to come forward” for so long when the obvious that they have been coming forward for over a year (but not to the police) and he’s been aware of that fact, but they still haven’t gone to the police starts to get light up with Kleig Lights.

    I have heard people say that his kink is a bit more extreme than the above commenter and suspect it’s the portion of his statement which said it was only after he showed them “conclusive proof that there was consent” that they elected to fire him. So he showed them a video and someone blanched and decided it was something closer to Max Mosley than Sook Yin. That is where I think the story lays.

    1. You can remain anonymous if you choose to when speaking to a journalist… you can’t remain anonymous if you press charges. No idea what kind of “support agency” makes you reveal your identity in public. But anyway, look at how much backlash Ciccone received without specifying her subject. Having no charges being pressed is very poor evidence of no abuse having happened… it is also not evidence that abuse has happened, so I’m not telling you your perspective is wrong, just don’t use that particular argument to defend it.

      1. She fully deserved the backlash she got. If a guy would do something similiar people would rightfully regard him as a cad, and trash. Nothing “Keith” did respecting Ciccone was criminal. So she found him repulsive – didn’t like his skin colour, eye colour, clothes he was wearing, age, whatever – and didn’t appreaciate the passes he was making at her. No reason to write about it and try to destroy his career or advance hers.

  71. I thank you for writing this.

    Even in the legal discussion group the inconsistencies of Ghomeshi’s claim are ignored, the accusations of the women are ignored; the discussion is quite focused on how people are being fired for being kinky and what the law has to say about this.

    It terrifies me that the fear of being “punished/outed/arrested/thought badly of” (and so on) for being kinky has created a void of reason where sexual assault occurs. While vanilla society is starting to get behind yes means yes and other anti-violence messages, yet the kink community seems to be too afraid of our community being tainted with a sexual assault report to be objective about sexual assault reports. Being kinky does not grant one immunity from arrest and conviction of assault, sexual assault and so it shouldn’t.

  72. The cult of the disgruntled women crying foul after the breakup of a ‘relationship’…is very much part of our culture today, Basic socialized heterosexuality has not quite caught up with all our libertarian and egalitarian ideals…hence most men and women are deeply in over their heads navigating through the dating mine field….they say yes when they want to say no…they mutually invest all sorts of fairy tale ideals in their respective partners and end up with feelings of anger and frustration when they are unable to articulate or even know themselves what it is they want from their partners…other than what they see on the movie screens ……I have no sympathy for these self victimized fools.

    1. Well you’re a real winner, aren’t you. I can see how it’s going for the cult of disgruntled “where’s my free bound and gagged pussy” libertarian, egalitarian men.

  73. Good stuff…I’m not a fan of Carla’s way, but you make some solid points here…JG, as are many a Canadian star, is well known for his creepy first approach…however, the culture of super fandom allows and even encourages it.

    Abuse is abuse though…if it happened, they should report it to the authorities..Toronto police are pretty educated with this stuff and the system does it’s best to protect victims of abuse

    1. Best response I’ve seen. Anyone who experiences abusive behaviour should seek help through police and other social agencies not use media. I have zero opinion about culpability – either Gomeshi’s or CBC’s and am uncomfortable that this is playing out in a public opinion forum. It is appallingly easy for most of us to be led about by media manipulators.

  74. OHHH MAN. Everyone was giving me side eyes when I was saying the same thing. First off having 4 people get together because they share a similar belief that you did a certain sexual thing, is a red flag. Second, you nailed it right on the head with Shortbus and the CBC’s reaction then. Thirdly, if you have a kink/ fetish, or what have you…that is not something that you bring into the bedroom right away. Anyone who isn’t a sexual deviant knows this and takes all the necessary precautions to make sure everything is comfortable, and consensual. In his statement he made a lot of ambiguous claims and failed to back them up with any hard evidence. If he is innocent then well have to forgive him for his emotions, however most of it felt like passive aggressive victim shaming.

    I shared this article on facebook because it eloquently states everything I have been saying and thinking on this subject. Very well done and thank you.

  75. jian is easily replaced. anyone dumb enough to support and be a fan of him is also dumb enough to swallow whole whatever empty headed shill replaces him. same goes for the entirety of cbc and everything that they put out there. privatize that shit!

    1. Oh Yes let’s turn this into a ‘Privatization’ issue? Perhaps we can get Sun News anchor Ezra Levant to take over and bring a ‘good old downright sexually repressed’ mindset to the CBC … you know … to counter Jiam’s kinky perspective. Yes things will be much better and then Tar Sands ads announced by Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy can pay for all the unbiassed news from this point forward. Okay looks like that could happen anyway, but NO … I”m Sorry dobrodude Privatization does not solve the worlds problems no matter how LOUDLY Bill O’Reilly yells it on Faux News.

  76. You start out under the guise of being impartial, but it quickly becomes apparent that you are not at all.

    You basically say that Jian must be lying because there are other women who have a different version of events from his. Well, of course they do, or there would be no story here. You don’t say that they could be lying because their story doesn’t match his. You suggest that there is no reason for them to make it up, and yet the courts have been full of cases that are trumped up or completely fabricated by people that are out for financial gain, 5 minutes of fame, or just revenge.

    You say that he states that the CBC fired him because of his sexual preferences, but from what I read, it seems like they are more concerned about the allegations of non-consentual sexual habits, violent, or otherwise.

    You are absolutely right, that he may be guilty, and that we should wait to see what the facts are before we judge. However, stating that at the beginning and the end, while filling the middle with one-sided hints, and allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi, is FAR from impartial. This was not the good journalism, that I was expecting, when I first started to read it.

    1. “You suggest that there is no reason for them to make it up, and yet the courts have been full of cases that are trumped up or completely fabricated by people that are out for financial gain, 5 minutes of fame, or just revenge. ”

      Five separate women?

  77. You keep repeating the number of women, but it’s not that unbelievable for a celebrity. It took me about 10 seconds to find two people accusing Obama of sexually inappropriate conduct.

    1. I do agree concerning the rest of the piece, of course – kink is unrelated, and so on. If we had some proof that the are 1) all real people (not just the same person four times) 2) have in fact come into contact with him, that would be enough to get my “he did it” estimate above 85%.

  78. I think you’re missing the point here: until he is found either to be innocent or guilty of what he is being accused of, CBC and the general public has/had no right to judge him. His sex life is personal and it’s amazing how few people are understanding that.

    If he turns out to be a predator, I won’t support him any more. If not, then awesome. In the mean time, let’s just calm down, shall we?

    PS – the Sook-Yin Lee thing, they probably didn’t fire her because what she did WAS in public. She wasn’t secretive about it.

    PPS – “strength and safety in numbers” works both ways. they could be working together to get attention. after all, they DATED him knowing they would get attention if it got serious. when that was taken away…well, some people go crazy for attention. I’m not saying that’s the reason, but I’m not saying it’s impossible either.

    1. Also, the CBC is under far more conservative overview now than it was in 2005 AND everyone (read that as white/male/establishment) is always quite accepting of lesbian activity – as long as they get to watch.

    2. No, chapterdaily, you lose the right to a personal sex life when you violate the safety of another’s. End of story.

  79. Totally agree. Too many people are giving him a pass based solely on his public persona, and that IMHO is not only non-critical thinking but downright dangerous as well.

  80. Thanks, I (guess I) needed that….I really appreciate the loop-holes (and media-savvy play) you’ve illuminated. I’d just prefer there weren’t any.
    😞 Damn, just when the CBC was about to be cool.

  81. Three observations:

    Firstly, from a labour/employment law perspective, Ghomeshi’s explanation of the CBC’s reasons for firing him absolutely do make sense…mostly. The CBC would be *really* ill-advised to take the position that he’s being fired because of non-consensual sexual acts unless they could prove it. On a termination for cause, the onus is upon the employer to prove cause. Even on a termination without cause (which isn’t available for most unionized employees, as Ghomeshi was), employers are generally advised not to make allegations of misconduct they can’t prove, lest they face allegations of bad faith, etc.

    CBC may or may not believe that the acts were consensual, and in fact they may or may not care. Regardless, it only makes sense that they would want to distance themselves from the scandal by getting rid of him, and it’s not a particularly uncommon practice to allege just cause on less serious but admitted facts, rather than on more serious but controversial facts. Particularly in a case like this, where it’s a pretty safe bet that the CBC would have zero chance of proving non-consensual sex in court, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them relying on a more tenuous basis such as his admitted controversial bedroom habits.

    (Of course, the anonymous allegation by the former CBC employee is a totally different matter, but even if one assumes that there ever was such a complaint made as she claims, there are still any number of reasons why the CBC might not rely on it as cause.)

    Secondly, once one realizes that the CBC is very likely firing him for what they can prove (i.e. that he’s kinky) as opposed to what they can’t prove (i.e. that he engages in non-consensual violence), the narrative does indeed shift, in important ways, to “don’t hate me for being kinky”. Of course, the primary element of the scandal remains that of consent, but as far as his termination from the CBC goes…I would wager a great deal that the core legal battle (once you get past jurisdictional issues) will be whether or not CBC is entitled to fire a radio personality for being kinky.

    Thirdly, you seem reluctant to accept that four people might be making it up, because…why would they? And while that’s certainly a legitimate question, there are also lots of reasons people might make up stories about an ex – including, for example, that the relationship ended on bad terms. By all accounts, Ghomeshi is narcissistic and self-absorbed, and it’s not at all hard for me to imagine a personality like his ending up on a few exes’ “DontDateHimGirl” lists. Ghomeshi has suggested that there’s collusion, which seems plausible on the facts and would undermine an argument that, because three women appear to be saying the same thing, it’s a pattern of conduct.

    At the end of the day, anonymity is pretty much anathema to credibility. Even when there are multiple anonymous allegations.

    It is certainly possible that the allegations are true. But, for the same reasons we’ve built a presumption of innocence into our legal system, it would be very dangerous to start believing in guilt based on untested anonymous allegations.

  82. The people who fired him said there was clearly consent and no wrong doing. This is an image issue as far as they are concerned.

    It actually does make sense that a board at the CBC would fire him after reviewing the evidence he gave them that he actually has struck and choked women for pleasure.

    You don’t get on a CBC board by being liberal minded – the evidence of this kind of sex-play would only need to offend one person on the board for it to be a PR issue. No matter what their personal feelings for Ghomeshi, they needed to think about the broader public opinion across Canada on this matter.

    Part of their job is understanding that in reality this kind of sex play, where a woman appears in subjugated role, is distasteful in the extreme to most of their demographic/funders – clear consent, (which they acknowledge there was), or no.

    @SallyJ Unfortunately for Ghomeshi, the Human Rights Commission might not enter into it. Most employees of such corporations are required to abide by the company’s morality clause, and like the obscenity & indecency laws in our country’s books (laws by which, incidentally, pro dommes have been charged), it can be vague and very much open to interpretation.

  83. Thanks for your perspective. It is helpful. I have a few observations. First, in my experience, everyone who is fired from a large company is banned from the building – part of the HR process is to recover their security pass and escort them to the door – I’ve done it many times. Second, I didn’t find the Carla story to be at all creepy. I thought she was flaky. If you’re so scared about losing your status in the Canadian media industry that you call your sister and have a telephone conference about how to get out of a date, then why would you write a blog about it that was so obviously about Jian Ghomeshi? And why would you say that he dissed Jake Gyllenhall? To me it seemed she just wanted attention. Third, is it right to judge based upon allegations made by women who refuse to identify themselves and who went to the media rather than to the police? And on this issue I’m the most torn. I know women are “slut-shamed” on social media. I know there are horrible people out there who make victims’ lives very uncomfortable if not dangerous. But how will our legal system go forward if victims of assault (sexual or otherwise) don’t make a formal complaint? I don’t have an answer but I do find it difficult to then punish a person for unproven allegations by unnamed sources. That’s just not how our legal system works. Finally, the punching/slapping and the choking did shock me. Not the fact that it occurred (you’re quite right that Canadians are pretty open about sexual preferences), but that it appeared to come out of nowhere and without time to have a proper discussion of what was and wasn’t within the bounds of comfort. I am personally, despite being a huge fan of Jian, sitting back and awaiting true facts from both sides. I hope he is exonerated but my mind is open.

  84. I question both Jian’s sycophantic fan’s seemingly blind support and the actual newsworthiness of his long-winded FB rant predicated on the narcissistic assumption that the rest of the world should care. I mean really, he only got fired from a job on TV….Is there even a “safe word” for that???

  85. People claim he was abusive. But was he? This is a he said/she said (or rather, they said!) deal to anyone who wasn’t in that bedroom. On a side note, I have no personal interest in that kind of sex but did some research about it a few years back because someone was mildly trying to talk me into it. What struck me is that a lot of the people into this stuff place a heavy reliance on trust; it seemed like a very trusting community.
    I have, and probably never will have, any idea if Ghomeshi crossed any lines or not.

  86. This is an extraordinarily well-considered response to what’s happening. Having once worked at CBC, I can absolutely guarantee that the iconic host of a flagship show would not be summarily fired over the threat that some anonymous ex was coming forward with tales of playing “Naughty Schoolgirl and Strict Teacher”.

    There were meetings about this. Long meetings. And one of the first meetings would be to call in the people from the show and say, “So … this female staffer who approached one of you with tales of inappropriate workplace behaviour … who has something to add to that story?” And if the answer was, “Nope, this is an invention!” the response would be to circle the wagons and protect our boy and preserve our brand.

    But that didn’t happen. Ergo, I conclude that they got a very different answer. And now they have a problem that goes beyond one misguided producer brushing aside unsubstantiated allegations of workplace impropriety. Because once they asked the question and got the answer, they have to take action. Otherwise now you have systemic failure to act, which is what lawyers call “a wet dream”.

    And if I’m in the meetings, and one allegation is panning out … I start to think, “This is bad enough … but it feels like it’s gonna get worse. Like, catastrophically worse.”

    Much of the key demographic for Jian Ghomeshi is female, many between 25 and 55. I don’t think they’re going to be put off by a little slap and tickle, or even consensual slap and slap. In fact, I daresay it might make him look .. exotic and interesting. So again .. if you’re a CBC exec and that’s all there is, you say “Let’s ride this out.” You don’t can the host of your most popular show at a time when you are under attack from the government unless there’s more fire than smoke and the fire is licking your ass.

    1. The CBC execs are probably worried about their listener demographics as a whole, not just Jian’s. Would Rex Murphy’s listeners be so understanding? Would Michael Enright’s?

  87. Even if there was consent — and hard to know how they could be sure it was active and ongoing, without a video of the whole thing — then unless these women were experienced with that level/type of BDSM (unlikely since it would’ve been used in JG’s defense attempt) they were likely at best tolerant of it rather than it meeting their own needs. A tolerance surely influenced by his celebrity and connections, which are derived from the CBC. If I found out someone who worked for me was using that status to convince people to let him beat them up, I’d fire him on the spot too.

  88. Good blog, thoughtful and fair minded.

    What I’m wondering is why didn’t Ghomeshi sue his ex for defamation as this would enhance his chances of winning his CBC lawsuit if it (lawsuit against ex) revealed his ex was lying. As well, it would largely vindicate him if he won a defamation suit against his ex.

    1. Did CBC in fact say there was consent, or did Ghomeshi say that CBC said there was consent? If CBC said there was consent can someone please send me a link to the CBC where they say this? Thank you.

    2. Because she hasn’t publicly said anything, only the Toronto Star has. The allegations are all anonymous so the accusers are effectively shielded against libel suits.

      1. No, Macy, that’s not quite right. A defamatory statement doesn’t need to be public to be actionable. Assuming that Ghomeshi knows who these individuals are – and he probably has a pretty good idea – it would be possible to make a claim against them in defamation for what they told the press, and it would probably also be possible (assuming an otherwise-successful claim) to hold them responsible for damages suffered by reason of the press publication of their accounts.

        However, it doesn’t surprise me that he wouldn’t sue them. If he did, that puts the question of consent squarely into issue, with a much lower burden of proof than in criminal proceedings: If he sued them, and they convinced the court that it was *more likely than not* that there wasn’t consent, then he’d lose.

        The nuanced differences in the burden of proof would likely be lost on the general public – everyone would conclude that he’s a monster, and even moreso for having called out his accusers and dragged them into court. He’d be a pariah forever, even if the evidence wasn’t strong enough to convict him on a criminal standard of proof.

    3. No, a successful defamation suit against his ex wouldn’t help him against the CBC.

      He claims that the CBC isn’t taking the position that there was a lack of consent. This is easily believed, because that’s not a position they would take unless they could prove it. Which they presumably can’t.

      So whether or not these women are lying is going to be immaterial to his legal action against the CBC – such proceedings will move forward premised on there having been consent: If one assumes that he had consent, does the CBC have just cause to dismiss?

  89. Everyone is riding the horseshit of fame, on the back of Jian Ghomeshi’s popularity. I suggest you keep your opinion to your kinky self, until formal charges are laid and Jesse the Jealous Brown produces the 4 women’s names!

  90. And the crux of the matter is this: “According to the law, if it was rough enough to cause bodily harm, then he has still committed assault, regardless of consent.” – Brenda Cossman, The Globe and Mail.

  91. He sounds like someone who is fantastic 95% of the time. Would you ride a *fantastic* roller coaster that is safe 95% of the time?

  92. “But in the Canadian context specifically, this strategy is not as risky as it might seem. We pride ourselves as being an open-minded society.” WRONG. This journalist hasn’t done her homework. CBC Radio Host Sook-Yin Lee was threatened with firing by CBC in 2006 when she was in a film performing real oral sex and masturbation. Famous stars rallied to her defence and she wasn’t fired. She attracts a bit of an alternative audience to CBC Radio that it would not otherwise have. She hasn’t exactly flourished either. Sook-Yin Lee has nowhere near the national and mainstream profile that Ghomeshi does. The CBC objected to the image of its host really performing sex acts in a movie, even for an artistic cause. But it gave in. However, Ghomeshi’s acts involve creating pain and consent to a degree of bodily harm. As well, the allegations include him being violent before safe words and consent were established. While Ghomeshi’s acts were in private, they involve dominance and violence which are hot button issues. His national profile with other prizes like the Giller and in the USA makes the standard for his behaviour more restrictive. He has to conform to community standards to be a national spokesperson. The argument is that CBC staffers by virtue of the power Ghomeshi has would be afraid to make complaints – and that the violent aspect of his sex practice makes their work environment toxic. It isn’t fair, it’s intimidating, they would argue, that they would have to turn down his requests or invitations for violent sex or comments about violent sex (one of the allegations is just that). The sad thing is that if his conduct had remained private, he would still be doing his job today. I am surprised that he isn’t bringing slander actions against the ex and the journalist – hard to prove though. I imagine that the many celebrities and artists that he interviews would simply refuse to do interviews as they don’t want their mainstream brands damaged and that his being reinstated would do more harm to CBC’s ratings. It’s Hallowe’en at the CBC and the skeletons and blood are everywhere.

  93. Could he be just another charismatic narcissistic sex addict who is using his celebrity to feed his addiction? Hmmmm. I wonder.

  94. So, there’s a post on Carla Ciccone’s blog (well over a year ago) about “Keith” – which has been so far anonymized but unreferenced sources you are indicating say are Jian. So let’s just simply discount that article, overwhelming cologne and all. If you’d like to provide MORE sources where it indicates that “Keith=Jian” – please do so, otherwise, moot point. And here say.

    If you want to take other evidence, you’ll note that Jian provided evidence to CBC HR and staff wherein, according to Jian and his statements, CBC agreed “Yep, consensual”. (my quotes).

    You’re absolutely right, that we DON’T know all the facts, but your tone and attitude in this post are convicting Jian of being an abuser. You fail to recognize that other agencies, having viewed the evidence presented, failed to report the story. And, sure, journalism spans a wide variety, from bloggers who take one part of the argument and defend anonymous accusers to those who would decline to publish articles which could ruin someone’s reputation and career.

    Your attitude and writing are clearly taking sides. My comment is also biased against that judgment. But then, I admit that I don’t know the facts. I haven’t seen the evidence that Jian reportedly presented to CBC HR representatives. And you’re merely writing it off as him defending himself as “kinkier than most” and hiding behind that. But neither of us knows the evidence. And your piling on with your accusatory tone is failing to recognize the presented facts in the matter and assuming the worst.

    I am guilty of assuming innocence before guilt, because, well, that’s how I hope it all works here south of the Great White North. I might have an unreasonable version of justice south of that line. But then, I might just know Jian a little more than others and not think he’s as much of a dick as other people think he is, particularly since I do know him. And I’m looking at all the facts that are out there and not some of the anonymous bullshit that’s being flung around.

    1. “talked about using safe words” isn’t the same as actually using safe words. My guess is, far from being stodgy and prudish as they are being characterized, the CBC was open-minded enough to have someone who did know about how BDSM is properly conducted, at least enough to recognize signs of this not being it when they were consulted. Just a guess, of course. But the pending lawsuit (and expected grievance process) effectively stops the CBC from responding, and Ghomeshi’s PR firm would know this and use this.

  95. I understand that Ghomeshi is a union employee. He isn’t entitled to a court case – he is barred from commencing a wrongful dismissal suit and MUST convince his union to take his complaint to arbitration. If the union is acting in bad faith by not taking it to arbitration, then he’ll have to sue the union. Ghomeshi COULD have other contractual relationships with the CBC outside of his union employment – maybe some side deals on publications with CBC Enterprises, doing promotions, multiple party agreements with the Giller and so forth. So his wrongful termination might apply to those side-contracts. We’ll just have to see how it pans out.

  96. I am one of those narrow minded guys south of the border. But, I think i got it. Correct me if need be.
    This Canadian newscaster was fired for no reason. Canadians are very open to kinky stuff, in fact they have laws that kinky stuff be accepted. But violations of laws on physical abuse cross the line UNLESS the physical abuse is consensual and then it falls under acceptance of kinky stuff laws And his company, CBC, did not get the memo on Canadian openness of perversion and kink.
    So far so good.
    So CBC preemptively fires this persecuted pervert (PP) although that has not been fully established because he, the PP, did a preemptive maneuver of his own, in case some viewers had not received the memo on acceptance of kinky stuff,, to make sure the open minded Canadians, who received the memo on open mindedness,, remained open minded.
    Still with me. Good It’s starting to make sense
    Here I admit some confusion but apparently he gets involved with some form of marshal arts called Sook Kim Lee. and wins a bout, possibly several bouts, with this devastating form of self defense that he has managed to make a consensual form of aggression.
    All the former losers in the previous consensual bouts complain. The PP sues the company for firing him because, although they did not say, his PPness would damage the image of CBC
    But he is upset because the open minded thinking laws in Canada, will surely exonerate him.
    In the States we have a great technique that solves this issue. It’s called a jury defined as 12 people of average ignorance. If they have not read, the need to change your thinking on perversion laws, they would make fine jurors
    And you all thought we were just hicks down here.

  97. I feel the need to leave a #notallmen here. With one out of every five women being sexually assaulted, jumping to the defense of the accused simply perpetuates the problem.

    That said, I can with great sincerity say I hope he didn’t do it. In fact I would be rather pleased in no one ever sexually assaulted anyone else.

    But hoping that the police will help solve sexual assault is naive at best. Assault victims can and are given verbal abuse by police, certainly not all, but it happens. Admitting to kinky sex while filing might be daunting, court and other due processes might be daunting, repercussions might be daunting. Most sexual assaults are not reported which means that the current system is obviously not working. Pointing fingers for not reporting to police is more than unfair.

    I have also met a woman who was a sex worker and was taken to the Picton farm, several times, the last time she thought they were going to kill her, so she ran away and told the police, who did nothing.

  98. Who’s Jian Ghomeshi & what’s radio? There’s no fame to be gained thorough false accusations in the arena of Canadian public radio. If you read this statement it pretty clear he’s desperately trying to explain away something. Perhaps ask why?

    1. There is something about the Star story that doesn’t add up. The women refused to go to the police or go on the record because they feared being sued, or a public backlash akin to the one Ciccone received for her “journalism,”

      It is the essence of yellow journalism for the Star to publish this frenzy generating, eyeball capturing story without naming names to “protect the women from a possibly similar backlash,” and do do so when they “refused to go on record.”

      The Star is in effect forcing Jian to reply with hands tied behind his back. Pun intended.

      Indeed, the plot seems to thicken.

  99. I’m a bit confused by some of the comments. It seems like if it’s not reported to the police then it didn’t happen? Interesting logic……. The work is suddenly a safer place I guess.

  100. In the kink community there are many stories of an ex-partner suddenly deciding that what was previously an ongoing consensual relationship before a break up, in hindsight was “abuse.” This is used as a weapon in custody battles and deciding who is at fault in divorces. And when we come out of the closet to friends and relatives, we get a lot of misunderstanding and being told that we’re in abusive relationships.

    Are there abusive partners in BDSM? Of course. Just as in all walks of life. So that is a possibility that must be carefully considered.

    I would be terrified to come out in public with an allegation like these women have made. But at the same time I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to lose my job and be publicly humiliated as a result of anonymous unproven allegations.

    I don’t buy the argument that the CBC must have some iron-clad proof of wrongdoing. After the recent problems with the NFL, most corporations want to be free of the smallest whiff of scandal. CBC listeners tend to be older and probably sexually conservative.

    BDSM is really not as accepted by the vanilla world as some posters have made it out to be. This is like being outed as gay 20 or 30 years ago, when there were still people who conflated homosexuality with paedophilia.

    For many people, BDSM is a sexual-orientation, not just a diversion from sexual boredom. Please don’t be so quick to say that this isn’t about BDSM, it’s about abuse, when you might not know how to tell the difference. Or that just because you wouldn’t do the things we do, that we must be sick.

    We need more understanding of all sides of this issue.

    We must also think about the role celebrity plays in all this. Because of his fame, Jian is both more likely to be a target of false accusations and also more likely to be given a pass for bad behaviour.

  101. While admiring Ghomeshi for his interviewing prowess – I don’t think I could ever care much about his predelictions, I approve of your cautious position. But I don’t think this is going to devolve into a question over the ethical implications of BSDM or whatever he likes. I’d bet it will ultimately be overshadowed by his celebrity – and that’s where the ball gag will lie until we get tired of talking about it. Nevertheless, keep vigil over your sexual rights – it isn’t impossible that some troll with clout will obfuscate the matter at hand, which is whether or not Ghomeshi is a bad date or not.

  102. food for thought and not so far fetch. I know nothing of this community but I do know enough about sexual manipulation and the power of persuasion. I’ve been a huge fan of Q. But Since reading Jian’s story on Sunday I’ve been asking myself many questions, it just does’t feel right. Why would the CBC risk such a law suit at this point given the cuts especially with a personality who has raised their ratings and why would he want his job back if as he says the CBC have falsely accused him. Yea there is mud here. The FB letter, It just doesn’t even sound like his writing. I’m with you so far.


  103. If someone has committed a crime against you, especially a felony, the usual redress for that is to file criminal charges with the local law enforcement agency, not to start a whispering campaign against the person.

    The fact that NONE of these anonymous women has filed charges leads me to believe that they are full of shit and have another motive, probably financial.

    1. because the potential reprecausions of such an act are, as sited in the article above,

      “What exactly would the motivation be for this supposed smear campaign, that four women would take part in it despite having evidence that when a previous woman made much milder accusations that don’t even explicitly name Ghomeshi, she was completely trashed on the Internet?”

      There name (s) will be smeared all over social media and the internet like so many other victims out there. It is a major flaw in society to blame the victim and protect the accused. The playing fields are not always equal; especially when you add “celebrity” status to the equation.

      1. While I am VERY suspicious of this man now, because of the number of women, AND I can understand the hesitancy of the FIRST one a year ago (Carla ?), there are a few things that I would note; first, NO ONE can be sure of the motivations of others, there could be myriad reasons for them to be choosing to do what they are doing, especially considering the WAY they are doing it… Secondly, the fact that they have Carla’s article from a year before and that they know they are FOUR MORE corroborating testimonials should provide them with enough security that they have support and would likely get some justice if they filed criminal complaints…Thirdly, women need protection from this man and SOMEONE has to go on record and face him to shed more light on what he does.

    2. As someone pointed out, there was literally video of Rehtaeh Parsons being raped (not to mention that, she being 17, the video itself was child pornography), and the police did nothing about it until after she had killed herself. When that’s the level of compassion and diligence they can expect, is it any wonder that women are not more prompt to report rapes?

  104. Robert-the-not-so-Wise, Ghomeshi has agreed to making this about the court of public opinion, so I hope your “full of shit” applies to him too? Ask yourself why your hero has not said a word about filing suit against his accusing ex girlfriend (plural). Where’s his filed counter charges of slander?

    I don’t know what kind of life you must be leading to have so many ex partners lined up against you that they are willing to cooperate, but only self-serving delusion would dismiss that with one wave of the “bitches be crazy” wand.

  105. The problem here is the action of the CBC. Ghomeshi – if as alleged – has stepped into sexual assault should face criminal sanction. To punish him in an extra-legal way is not the way it is done. The CBC by going this route has opened itself up to civil action and a lot of WTF from people who expect that the right of an employer to fire should end with the privacy at the bedroom door.

    The matter of sexual harassment in the workplace is a different issue altogether. But, somewhere along the line this went off the rail. I don’t pretend to know what happened, or how it either did not make to HR or got buried, et cetera. But, to well after the fact claim this as the reason would be problematic. HR has processes that they should follow, and apparently did not.

    I am offended about the CBC’s action because it appears to step over lines that were at least philosophically drawn by Pierre Trudeau with his “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the citizen” speech. Ghomeshi is a great interviewer who created a very interesting and entertaining show, and I will miss him, but my anger is with CBC for its actions. As stated, if Ghomeshi has committed sexual assault he deserves to face the charges and to be convicted; but is that likely? It requires some bravery and fortitude of those who make the allegation. And yes I get that in the age of the Internet there are some nasty little twits that will use it as a means to exercise their particular form of petty evil – to hurt because they can.

    All in all not a good situation, but I still am upset with the CBC.

    1. The thing is, though, we don’t actually know why the CBC fired him. We know what Ghomeshi *claims* happened, but we don’t actually know the full story. The CBC is not saying anything because a) they don’t disclose terms of separation with employees to the world just because someone posts something on facebook (imagine if they did that!!) and b) there is a pending lawsuit. It will come out in the lawsuit; maybe your complaints will be fully justified then, but for now, we should probably not jump to conclusions!

    2. Nicholas, just questions May employers take action, outside of the criminal courts, to preserve workplace safety? I’m not saying they did, but if the CBC worked with the union to conduct a series of well documented internal disciplinary procedures, would that cut it?

      1. The union says that there is nothing on file, which suggests that Nicolas is right. Something went off the rails.

    3. If the activities in the bedroom are against the law and hurting someone the state has a lot of business in the bedroom. I’m not stating that is the case here, no one knows enough yet for that, but it could be.

  106. “It says something about the success of the BDSM/kink/leather community’s public education work of the last decade …” Where? Have there been public service ads on TV?

    “… and a young, popular and very media-savvy broadcaster knows this.” Young? He’s 47.

  107. I’m sort of with you – very suspicious. Can’t believe that in BDSM the players ask every time they initiate a new action whether it is acceptable to their partner? Would they say “is it ok if I hit you with my fist?”, “now I’m going to strangle you, ok?” I don’t believe that side of Ghomeshi’s statement. Now, disgruntled “ex”? I was harassed by a disgruntled ex and “hell has no fury like an” ex scorned – my good fortune to have it happen before the internet. The law in Canada states that you cannot consent to assault causing bodily harm – I don’t know how that applies to BDSM but I’d not like to be the one on the hot seat.

  108. This is well written and completely reflects my thoughts.

    If I was getting jiggly with Jian and he started to bitch slap me (non-consensually, of course), I would offer him a swift knee to the groin and call it a day.

  109. This is such an excellent post. Thanks for shedding some light on his story from the BDSM perspective. It’s really important to know that punching and choking are not “first date” material for BDSM-savvy folks — something that should be obvious, but may not be to everyone.

  110. This is the most reasonable read on this subject I have found so far. Good article.

    As for CBCs decision to let Gomeshi go, I get that people are upset with it. But CBC made the decision (gamble) that distancing themselves from Gomeshi would be more valuable in the long run. A decision I am sure they did not take lightly. I will personally hold off on my judgement until more solid info comes out.

    This whole situation makes me miss the lightheartedness of Moxy Fruvous…

  111. I struggle to see where the slander actually lies. All that happened was a company fired him. JIAN is the one who came out and told the world about his preferences. What did the CBC say? Just that he was no longer with them. I understand him wanting to get ahead of the story out of fear of what WILL break and appear to be proud of who he is, instead of being the embarrassment of the scandal, but at this point in time, because he broke the news of his preferences, it isn’t slander or defamation (part of what he is suing for). Also, this is not about his preferences as he seems to be attempting to make it. It is about his abuse of women (or lack of abuse of women if they are indeed fabricating the circumstances).

  112. What an outstanding, measured and informed piece. Thank you so much for bringing this situation and this conversation to a broader audience who may have otherwise been unaware.

  113. BDSM will always face difficulty because the lines will blur and be crossed enough times and the cumulative effect will change people in enough ways that rape culture will find ways of using it as defense as much as it helps nurture rape culture by nature. So as rape survivors try to refine language, education, and laws, BDSM actively counters progress… whether it wants to or not. It has predatory, addictive components so basically self-pronounced perverts care more about “a good time” not compatible with self esteem than they do the advancement of women or LGBT communities…
    I truly don’t want to judge anybody… and I don’t belong in your forum… but in terms of “critical thinking” I sat here thinking I just can’t seem to get away from everyone’s violent fantasies and fetishes… Violence is just taking over the media… and it sucks to feel the cultural misogyny and misanthropy constantly…
    Sexual liberation in the form of bondage… because it is a “choice” makes intellectual sense… but I’m glad BDSM doesn’t just have an easy pass. It doesn’t deserve complete liberty as humans currently display a limited ability to govern much of anything. How many people are simply brainwashed into thinking violent sex is normal in any way?
    This is all rhetorical, as I don’t want to debate anyone. This post was just alarming to me. The facts of the actual celebrity and the case only just now provided a vehicle for me to be aware of your BDSM movement at all… I mean I knew about 50 shades of Grey being a success among middle aged house wives in particular so I figured women were going down the tubes where feminists are concerned but now I learn it’s basically a feminist read? Hmmmm…
    Anyhow… peace to all. I hope I haven’t been rude.

  114. Reblogged this on Aimlessly Creative ~ Determined to Read and commented:
    Great blog post about the Ghomeshi issue in regards to BDSM aspect (as opposed to being about the way CBC chose to handle this, another issue all together). I’m particularly glad to see this because his comment about “mild version of fifty shades of grey” didn’t sit well with me for a number of reasons

  115. With the recent scandal at CBC I think we all need to take a step back and take a moment to reflect on what “The Q” and host Jian Ghomeshi meant to the people of Canada. I enjoyed the show immensely and am a fan of Jian’s professional hosting and interviewing talents. His style was one of a kind and with each show he left his imprint clearly on the program.
    I encourage everyone to separate themselves from the latest scandal and reflect on the man Jian and the contribution that he made to our Canadian Social Fabric. International acclaim and awards testify to the envy of other countries and our pride in him and his talent is evident by those who have come forward in his support at this his darkest moments in his professional career. Entertainers, TV Personalities, Sports Commentators and people who have worked with Jian over the years remain loyal and supportive to Jian.
    This being said I do not think it is prudent to make comment on the right or wrong of the scandal that is now in the news. None of us know all the facts and are not privy to what occurred in his private life. We only know what is being reported in the media and on the social network and as we all know that is never the complete story from either side of this issue.
    Scandal is the forge that tempers true relationships with family and friends. Someone once told me that “true friends” are those who stand by you when you are not just at your best but are there for you when things are at their worst. This axiom has proven itself true in my case and I hope that maturity will cause us to not to rush to judgment as so many have chosen to do. I will remain a loyal and appreciative fan for all that Jian has brought to us in his public career.

  116. Years ago I heard women say “Just because you paid for a marriage license doesn’t give you the right to beat me”. We, women, made it illegal. We fought and won the right to take him to court. We worked our asses off and got battered women’s shelters. He? He worked twice as hard to convince us it was SEXY to do this, it was hot, it was what ‘progressive’ people did. Do men enter a date’s home and get beat up with baseball bats (her fist being too feminine soft)? No. (Please don’t bother with exceptionalism). It’s men who call this sex, and have doggedly changed the culture if not quite yet the law, for the purpose of legally beating up and working out their hatred of women through the few Stolkholmed, groomed, enslaved women who haven’t yet woken up to the fact that this is battery, this is what went on at Abu Ghraib and was called. But when it happens to women? Just convince them it’s sex. These are male sexual deviances. Not sex.

    1. So non-groomed, non-enslaved, mentally competent sexuality submissive women do not exist, whether straight, lesbian, pansexual, or other? That would be a… surprising discovery.

    2. You are totally ignorant of what you are talking about.

      I am a man, I love beating consenting women.

      Heck, I also love being beaten by consenting women!

      And I hope they love it too, or else I would find nothing sexually exciting in it.

      Don’t presume everybody’s sexuality should be like yours or else is morally wrong.

      I would also point out that the way you talk about ”Stockholkmed, groomed, enslaved women” is way more insulting and sexist than most things I’ve heard in the BDSM community.

  117. He may or may not be innocent, so I really dislike your accusatory tone (though you are pretending to be non-biased). What happened to innocent until proven guilty. There is plenty of blame to go around: 1. to Toronto Star for not revealing the information earlier in case he isn’t innocent 2. to CBC for not taking action after the alleged ass grab 3. to CBC for firing him without just cause.

    “Four women could be making shit up, anonymously, because… well, I don’t know, but that itself might be an interesting question. For fun?” How about money? Attention (though anonymous, they may feel important by being involved in a heated debate)? Revenge? Jealousy? Regret? Cognitive dissonance after the fact?

    My point is, if he is evil, Toronto Star and CBC had plenty of information prior to any of this that could have saved other women. Let the courts deal with JG and let’s focus on the media who refused to talk about this when it really mattered.

    1. The ass-grabee never made a complaint to the union or the CBC, but did go to the Star, with the other women to make their cases. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it also doesn’t reveal any of the follow up to the alleged incident (sexting? snogs in the broom cupboard? dirty talk?). She says JG said “I want to hate fuck you”, which could have been the tipping point into revulsion for her…but did it just come out of the blue? But I speculate. So many unanswered questions, and if she and the others never file criminal complaints we’ll never know and JG will never get exoneration or conviction.

  118. I am not into kink or BDSM, but I’ve seen enough members of that community condemn Fifty Shades of Grey to wonder whether citing it as a reference point reveals Ghomeshi’s lie.

    Beyond that, your point is well made that the women accusing Ghomeshi aren’t complaining about anything that could be considered consensual kink. Groping a coworker’s ass without her permission is not a valid kink. I also agree that there’s no obvious motivation for four women to make false accusations, and that makes me more inclined to believe them than Ghomeshi.

    1. I would “bet” you are right , considering there are 4/5 of them, BUT I am always cautious about ASSUMING, because “I” can’t think of a motive that they would have for making this up/exaggerating it, that there couldn’t be one ….The way people’s minds work, and what things they will do for peculiar reasons never ceases to amaze me…..

  119. A question: from the standpoint of the bdsm community I think the central question re: Jian is whether he had informed consent from competent partners. But that’s not the question in Canadian law

  120. *reading further*

    I’m a man, and I’ve performed both “power exchange” BDSM and “edge play.” Specifically, one ex-gf was VERY into edge play, and fantasized deeply about — for instance — me choking her. Once — one time — when I was under the influence (more about that in a moment), she convinced me to choke her. I did, she enjoyed it (orgasms were forthcoming) and I… well, I enjoyed that she enjoyed it. It’s still not “my thing” but hey, she liked it.

    Later, we split up. Mostly, this was due to my drinking — I’ve since realized that I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and quit drinking entirely. Unfortunately, this created an acrimonious breakup. The ex-gf and I have since cleared the air — we’re no longer dating, of course, nor are we close, but we’re not bitter and angry (as far as I know; I’m not, and the last I spoke to her, she wasn’t either — she wished me well, and that was that).

    Why does this matter? Well, shortly after we broke up, when things were still bitter, and when I was just starting to realize I needed to quit drinking for good, my ex was in contact with another ex-gf, one who I DO have a good relationship with (on the “we exchange Christmas cards and stay in touch on Facebook” level). She (the ex into the “edge play”) ended up sending a picture to the other ex of bruise marks on her neck. Now, in her defense, she didn’t say I assaulted her — I didn’t, she didn’t claim I did, it was consensual, *all* parties agree. But I WAS intoxicated, and that’s always a bad idea with BDSM play (and especially a bad idea for me). I don’t recall what precisely the edge play ex was trying to say to the other ex, but it was something along the lines of “look out, this is what he can do while drunk!”

    This terrified me. I realized that all that would have to happen is for her to change her story — to say that “hey, he DID assault me!” — for me to be in deep shit. She had photographic evidence, after all, and could probably dig up chat records of me saying “yeah, I did that, and it probably wasn’t a good idea” (conveniently leaving out the part of us BOTH agreeing that it was consensual, and that the bad idea part was the part where I was under the influence). How VERY easy it would be to paint a picture of me as an abuser and victimizer (and a drunk, to boot).

    The net result? I won’t touch BDSM with a ten foot pole, any more. It was never really “my thing” — I don’t revel in feeling “powerful” over women, and I certainly don’t enjoy the thought of hurting anyone. The only reason I’ve ever been convinced to do it is because my partners finally convinced me that it was THEIR thing. They got off on it; so, I figure, what the hey, why not do it for their enjoyment? Now I realize how very close to the precipice this skirts, and I won’t ever do it again.

    Is this what’s happening here? Frankly, I don’t know. This is a “he said, she said” kind of thing, and should be resolved in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion. Consensual edge play like this is a VERY tricky thing, and whatever people say, consent CAN be withdrawn after the fact. Again I’m not saying this is what’s happened here; that’s not for me to decide. It’s for the COURTS to decide.

    But I will never, ever touch BDSM again, not even to “make her happy.” I have too much of a sense of self-preservation for that. True, I no longer drink, but you don’t have to be drunk for something to be a horrible idea.

    While this saves my ass, it makes me sad — what about couples who truly DO enjoy BDSM together? Do the partners always have to stop and think “wait. What if this is used against me in court some day? Should I even do this?” That seems like a step backwards for sex positivity.

    On the other hand, I don’t want to let true abusers off the hook. Maybe we should all obtain written consent beforehand. “Wait, honey, before we proceed. On the off chance that we might have an acrimonious split some day, could you please sign this form saying you knowingly consent to what’s about to happen?” Nobody is demanding this, but it’s about what I’d feel comfortable with before ever engaging in this again.

    It just seems like a sad, fucked up situation. I can’t see this doing anything except harming sex positivity and kink culture in general.

  121. A question: from the standpoint of the bdsm community I think the central question re: Jian is whether he had informed consent from competent partners. But that’s not the question in Canadian law, is it? If he caused bodily harm he’s guilty, regardless of the consent his partner may have been giving at that moment. Do we need to consider this aspect?

  122. Reblogged this on The Atheist and commented:
    This isn’t a topic that I usually reblog or cover here, but I was such a fan of CBC Q, and this is a well written article from someone with some first hand knowledge of the main topic, so I think its worth a read to anyone who is interested.

  123. This is by far the best article on this scandal to date. I love it so much and I’m sharing it EVERYWHERE.

    As for the question by impartial – the law is NOT on the side of kinky folks in the U.S., either. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s rare that kinksters worry about the law since the law has no idea how to handle consensual violence. Plus, most law enforcement officers barely understand the basics of consent, and certainly struggle with victim blaming. It’s a minefield.

    I have no problem with consenting adults negotiating and consenting to beat each other or cut each other or do any manner of other violent acts to each other. But it MUST be consensual. And, based on what I’ve seen, consent does not seem to be on the table, in which case it would absolutely be assault.

  124. Just wanted to say thank you for posting this and doing the work of being a news media go-to person in this situation. I’m another feminist kinkster (and survivor). The first I’d heard of Ghomeshi was his statement a few nights ago, and it immediately raised a bunch of red flags. Really appreciate your careful and reasoned analysis.

  125. Sad for Ghomeshi, Interesting this story broke just after his father died.

    This is the price of celebrityhood: your private life could be exposed (either truthfully or otherwise), by someone who doesn’t care for you at all.

  126. I was just thinking today of the following:
    regardless of whether Mr Ghomeshi is guilty of assault or not, the bedroom behaviours that he likes to do are risky… would anyone suggest otherwise?… I would suggest that they are risky in a number of ways, most notably that they are relationally risky… they certainly would not be considered low-risk “long-term stable” relationships…

    In life when you engage in risky choices there is a probability that the consequences may not be to your liking — thinking of when skydiving goes wrong, or motorsport racing, or mountain or icefall climbing (they are not illegal, they are just high risk)… and when you are in a high-profile position in life, such as for Mr Ghomeshi, then negative consequences have a significantly higher value …

    OK, so, if you **really** value the very high position you have in life, and don’t want to suffer any consequences to your high position, then do a risk analysis on your choices (regardless of whether they are legal or not, regardless of whether you are guilty of anything or not) and then assess whether the consequences of your choices are worth your while… e.g., if you love skydiving then understand the risk and the consequences… same thing with choices such as BDSM and having many casual short-term sexual relationships… (I am not saying whether this is right or wrong, I am just looking at the relational risk.) (someone feels jilted — who woulda thunk, eh…!!!)

    The bottom line: your choices, your consequences, your life. Why should you involve the public? Don’t come crying to us because you didn’t do your risk analysis very well… perhaps you should have consulted a high-profile actuarial company beforehand instead of a high-profile PR management one afterwards.

    I welcome peoples’ respectful and thoughtful further comments and discussion.

  127. Let me get this straight. Stripped of all the self-congratulation, emotionalism, and PR-speak, Gomeshi’s story is that a woman with whom he had consensual BDSM sex in the context of an ongoing relationship is out to get him. She was SO upset that he broke up with her that she decided to get revenge by making friends with some OTHER woman with a baseless grudge against the gentleman, then embarking on a campaign of contacting a series of women with whom he has ALSO had *consensual* BDSM relationships, and either getting them to lie and say it was really abuse, or convincing *them* that their sexual activities, previously “known” to be consensual, were “really” abusive and nonconsensual.

    He CLAIMS to have such compelling evidence that this kinky sex was consensual that his own employer admitted there was no doubt whatsoever he was not guilty… but fired him anyway. He’s totally innocent of any abuse, the company for whom he was an asset fired him because of his sophisticated, kinky sexual tastes.

    I call bullshit on this story. Four women have accused him, NOT of violent consensual role-play, but of inappropriate and unwanted sexual predation, and said that they did not want to accuse him because of fear that he would retaliate using records of IM’s in which they discussed kinky behavior– which appears to be precisely what he has done. What exactly is he protesting he possesses that constitutes this ironclad evidence of consent? Well, he is hoping that records of IM conversations indicating interest in such activities will be mistaken for proof of actual consent at the time of the events. IF the series of events had actually been consensual BDSM, then *unless* he has some extremely weird habit of dating the weak-minded and confused, consensual BDSM devotees are not going to backpedal and claim to have been assaulted. Consent is *sacred* to us and we do not LIE about it, either saying it was there when it was not, or vice versa. We also know that consent is a tricky issue, made up of inner attitudes understood between careful and sensitive partners but *not* reducible to anything susceptible to proof in a court of law, or easily produced to clear oneself. If he had a notarized document from someone saying “I want you to slap me around while you do X” that would not PROVE that when he slapped her around the next day, he did so at her desire and with her consent. Claiming to have proof to have “cleared himself” to his employers is actually the bit that tells me he’s lying.

    My actual belief is that it’s possible he was inexperienced and boneheaded enough to mistake the indecisive paralysis of girls who have only fantasized about BDSM scenarios for full informed consent, and went around initiating message conversations about BDSM scenes– after which, both he and she knew such conversation logs could be misunderstood as consent, and both their actions were influenced by that knowledge. He knew whatever he did, she would be scared to try to accuse him, and pushed ahead with abusive abandon. Someone as sensitive and experienced as this man claims to be he ought to be more worried about whether or not he hurt someone unintentionally than eager to call them vengeful liars. If his partners were experienced enough to know about carefully established boundaries, safe-words, and sufficiently nuanced awareness of one’s partner’s feelings, they wouldn’t tell this particular lie– if the encounters were what he claims them to have been, he would have known them much better, and they would feel quite differently towards him than he claims they do. The idea that four adult, sane women, experienced enough in BDSM to establish safe words and use them, had consensual scenes with this man that were mutually rewarding and then turned on him for no reason and decided to parade themselves as victims to get back at him? He is hoping that his celebrity status will incline people to believe that a string of women would be SO upset he “got away” that they would put themselves through a guaranteed firestorm of accusations and personal attacks- for no other reason than trying to punish Mr. Gomeshi for (according to him) perfectly consensual, rewarding mutual encounters. Either that, or he really believes he is God’s gift to women.

    1. Just one minor caveat: nobody has put themselves “through a firestorm of attacks”, at least publicly, since the women have only come forward anonymously in the press. But your essential point remains

    2. “Claiming to have proof to have “cleared himself” to his employers is actually the bit that tells me he’s lying.”

      Yep. And because he’s sued them, for among other things the supposed unlawful use and disclosure of confidential information, they can’t publicly contradict him. Add to that his claim (which I do believe) that he’d never have shown the CBC the evidence if he thought there was a chance he could be fired for any of what he was doing, and he looks like a man who got away with predatory behaviour for so long that he built up a huge sense of entitlement and figured everything he did would be condoned as long as he could give some flimsy framing of it as “consensual” to enable deniability.

  128. I find you very insightful and logical in your thoughts. There is one element you did not mention. Eight years ago, Harper had not gutted the CBC yet plus he was not in a majority government. I believe the fear he has instilled in many departments (the one I work in included) could explain the trigger happy way they reacted to this situation

  129. Innocent until proven guilty is still a thing right? Oh, it is? Great. So I’ll be refraining from judging another person instead of fancying myself a lawyer and reading “with my critical thinking turned up high.”

    Well written and well researched post, though! 🙂

    1. Innocent until proven guilty is still a thing IN A COURT OF LAW. That entire expression is based around the treatment of defendants and suspects by officers of the law- police, judges, attorneys, jurors, etc. No charges have been laid against him. Therefore this phrasing doesn’t really apply. Without a court case, we are left to draw our own conclusions based on the information available to us and our own critical thinking skills.

      As for me, anyone who tries to justify Kink as anything remotely *like* “50 Shades of Grey” throw up red flags- since that book does NOT portray a healthy, consensual kink relationship, but an extremely abusive one that uses Kink as a smokescreen to justify abuse.

      1. Yeah 50 shades of grey is Garbage… so yeah he basically claimed “i am into light abusive relationships where rich guys get away with domestic violence.”

        also That right was abolished for millions of Canadian’s in 1995 when they passed the firearms act Violations of such have been rulled justifyed according to liberals like Jian.

        I see no difference treating him like I have personally been treated why should he be allowed to Desicrate one part of my lifestyle and be protected by rights that another part of my individual essential self he fundimentally had no issue Chearing to be used as a violation of?

    2. Anthea: Are you really so devoid of critical thinking skills that you need a judge to tell you what to believe??

      If your child claimed to have been beaten up at school, would you take the bully to court to determine whether the assault actually took place? Would you do this before you went to the school to discuss it?

      How about if you were the one beaten…would you require your perpetrator to be behind bars before you asked anyone to believe you?

      There is no ‘proof’ in these cases, only he said/she said. That’s the thing about intimate abuse – it usually happens behind closed doors, without witnesses. So if you’re waiting proof before you judge, you will always be waiting. But please don’t think for a second that you’re not making a judgment.

  130. I am no prude. I accept that people like kinky sex. HOWEVER…closed fist punching around the face or on the face…. whether of a man or a women….yeah….deviant….not kinky….too out there. Have no interest in listening to this creep anymore IF this is true…wondering if this is what CBC was thinking.

  131. Reblogged this on syrens and commented:
    In lieu of, say, “J is for Jian”, I thought I’d just reblog this well-thought-out piece by Andrea Zanin. Go read, it’s awesome.

  132. Thank you for this comprehensive breakdown. I just wrote a post from the PR perspective and have linked this piece as I found it a good resource – thank you for your no-nonsense approach to this important issue!

  133. I am kinda annoyed that an Over paid CBC media personality is trying to use BDSM as an excuse to get away with assault.

    There a real cases where this happens to REAL people who may loose custody of they’re kids who don’t have the money and fame to pull what he is trying to…

    Sick from CBC scum…

    there are times when people wonder why Some canadians even kink loving perverts wanna defund the CBC this is one of many.

  134. http://freethepresscanada.org/2014/10/28/toronto-star-loses-its-religion-for-jian-ghomeshi/

    See above weblink for an independent journalist’s perspective about what might be really going on.

    This firing occurring so soon after the “Ottawa Shooting” makes me wonder if Mr. Ghomeshi was not, in fact, fired over a refusal to deliver scripted material about the shooting on the air.

    The official reason given just seems a weak pretext cynically intended to be adjudicated and settled out of court at a convenient future time.

    I personally am open to the the theory of the “Ottawa Shooting” being a staged false flag operation carried out by elements associated with the RCMP and CSIS (Canadian equivalents of FBI and CIA).

    I believe Mr. Ghomeshi to be a person of genuine personal and professional integrity who would refuse to deliver on air scripted material that would amount to propaganda to advance NWO Luciferian interests — material that would result in the demonizing of a specific faith group or ethnic minority in Canada.

    The evil Harper government, fully aware of Mr. Ghomeshi’s principled nature, simply decided to get rid of a CBC journalist who would not obey orders to just stick to the provided scripts and to ignore any contrary evidence.

    That’s what I cynically believe is really going on here.

  135. Your article and commenters were excellent food for thought. My thinking cap is definitely on, just not sure (completely) what’s what. Celebrity makes people do strange things (manipulation), BUT where there is smoke there is always a bit of fire. Just need to sort it all.

    Thanks for the great read.

  136. Reblogged this on Tantrachick and commented:
    Such an important conversation that, though sometimes uncomfortable, must be spoken about! I am very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter, but please tread softly as this is a sensitive topic! From my heart to yours, in Kinky Community 😉 Joy

  137. Has any woman come forward with reports of having actual sexual intercourse with Jian Ghomeshi? <~~ D/L

    Is it possible Jian Ghomeshi is down/low secretly gay like Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is? Self-loathing repressed homosexuals who live lives of bitter, crazy unexplained angry rage?


    Repost from online comment board: My theory is this (and it's only a theory based on what I've read): he is a closeted gay man who does not want to face up to his orientation. He is from a background which does not accept homosexuality. He loved his father and didn't want to lose his father's love. He tries very hard to be straight but when push comes to shove, his rod just won't perform so he digitally penetrates women, he hits women because in his mind it's their fault he can't get it up, and he makes women fellate him because no matter one's orientation, that is a never-fail way to make it stand to attention.


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