Last year, Carla Ciccone went on a bad date, a really bad date, and she wrote about it, while protecting the obnoxious handsy fellow’s identity with a pseudonym. Apparently, there were enough clues at the time — “Canadian radio celebrity”, how many of those can there be? — and people figured out who she was talking about. That’s where it got weird.
The guy she described got uncomfortably physical with her on a concert date, and later pursued her with text messages that assumed a degree of interest that she plainly disavowed, asking him to leave her alone. This is creepy behavior. It’s patently rude, inconsiderate, and possessive, and you’d think everyone would agree that this is stuff guys shouldn’t do.
But that’s not the response she got.
Last year Ciccone wrote an article for the website XOJane about a “bad date” with an unidentified, very popular Canadian radio host whom readers speculated to be Ghomeshi.
In the days that followed, Ciccone received hundreds of abusive messages and threats. An online video calling her a “scumbag of the Internet” has been viewed over 397,000 times. Ciccone’s claims about the behaviour during her “bad date” were far less severe than the allegations of abuse from the women now accusing Ghomeshi, who fear the online backlash could be significantly worse for them if their names were made public.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.
The man she reluctantly and briefly dated was Jian Ghomeshi, who is now facing allegations of all kinds of sexual misbehavior.
The women now accusing Jian Ghomeshi of violence began as his fans. Two had very similar early experiences with him. After Ghomeshi met them at public events, which he had promoted on CBC Radio, he contacted them through Facebook and asked them on dates. They eagerly accepted.
Each woman said she remembers Ghomeshi being initially sweet and flattering, then later suggesting or hinting at violent sex acts. When they failed to respond or expressed displeasure, they recalled Ghomeshi dismissing his remarks as “just fantasies,” reassuring them he wouldn’t ask them to do anything they weren’t comfortable with. The women deny that “safe words” were employed in the relationship.
In one woman’s case, she visited Ghomeshi at his Toronto home and alleges as soon as she walked into his house he suddenly struck her hard with his open hand, then continued to hit her and choked her. The woman alleges Ghomeshi repeatedly beat her about the head and choked her.
Ciccone got off easy. But apparently it was such widespread knowledge that Ghomeshi’s fans would abuse and harass to silence criticism that his victims were afraid to come forward. This is how sexual predators thrive, isn’t it? By creating a climate in which women are afraid to speak up…and they rely on their fellow men to foster that hostile environment.
No more silences. Men must not collude with these kinds of creeps — they must speak out.