I guess if enough whisper, it gets loud enough to hear

The Toronto Star has interviews with eight women who were abused in various ways by Jian Ghomeshi, and here’s a personal story about the conspiracy of silence. Almost everyone knew about Jian, almost everyone whispered warnings about Jian, but no one would stand up and shout about Jian, so Jian thrived.

That’s depressing, the way it always works.


  1. swampfoot says

    It really blew me away how many people in my FB feed here in Canada automatically took his side, but I had no right to be surprised when I think about how many times I’ve seen this scenario play out.

    At least two well-known women have decided (very courageously) to come forward, and one of them is an actress from the beloved TV mockumentary style “reality” comedy Trailer Park Boys – Lucy DeCoutere, who also happens to be a Captain in the Canadian Air Force. Ghomeshi has pledged to no longer talk to the media about the subject.

    His vile PR firm has claimed that it’s dropped him, perhaps they know a no-win situation when they see it, or they would rather work in the background, pretending they’ve dropped him.

  2. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    I was waiting either for Ghomeshi to insert more or his appendages into his mouth, or for more women to come forward.

    Perhaps it shouldn’t be as disturbing as it is, because it’s all so familiar, but it still is. I am, at least, surprised that these murmurs didn’t make it outside of the elite circles they were made in. Stuff leaks. I don’t know how this managed not to.

    And as for that vile PR company, they know a sinking ship to see it, I’ll give them that.

  3. says

    PZ, I don’t think you meant to, but you’re kinda blaming the victims here some:

    but no one would stand up and shout about Jian, so Jian thrived.

    Or, alternately, “no one was able to stand up…” or “no one thought they’d have a career anymore if they stood up” or “no one believed the police or anyone else would do ANYTHING if they stood up” or “no one thought they wanted to be sealioned by Ghomeshi fanbois if they stood up”…or all kinds of other reasons. Ghomeshi used that fear, used his power in the industry to make sure women knew that facing him over this would be too dangerous to them. He manipulated the conversations before the ‘dates’ so that it would look plausible that the woman had consented to his nonconsensual violence. He knew that society tends to want to believe that nice guys like him wouldn’t be sexual predators.

    We have this stupid, TV-driven idea that rapists are skeezy-looking guys that anyone can easily recognize as rapists. And I’m sure there are some, and we know about them because they were crappy at it. The ones who are most successful are the ones who can manage to present a fauxgressive face to the world, because they know that their privilege as ‘successful’ men will protect them from all but the most egregious abuse that they dish out, and sometimes even the most egregious get away with it.

    Rape culture is a real thing. And it is built out of little tiny bricks like “no one stood up, so he got to keep going.” Please don’t do that.

  4. says

    Oh, I’m not blaming the victims for not speaking up — in that second story, there are all these guys passing along the stories, non-victims. We’re the ones who ought to do more than just passively and quietly forward the tales of the predators in our midst.

  5. swampfoot says

    Now that it’s clear that Ghomeshi has been at this for quite awhile (at least one CBC co-worker reported abuse from him and no disciplinary action was taken), I’m speculating if the next shoe to drop will be, “how long did the CBC know about this and how many reports were covered up?” They could be in for a house-cleaning that rivals the Jimmy Savile affair at BBC.

    The CBC made the right decision to kick him to the curb, it seems, but did they make it far too late?

  6. says

    Very reminiscent of — what was that guy’s name in the UK, Jimmy Savitz? At least he didn’t get away with it, and it didn’t go on nearly as long. Maybe this sort of career is getting harder to maintain.

  7. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    Swampfoot @ #8, I doubt anything like that will happen. The way it’s structured insulates parts of the CBC from other parts. I suppose something might happen to the radio arm that carries Ghomeshi’s show, but how high that could go up? I don’t know. I wouldn’t count on it getting far. Systematic is something the CBC is going to try very hard to squash as an idea. After all, they will say, he is fired.

  8. drst says

    As soon as I heard about the first allegation, I assumed this guy was guilty and that there’d be more victims uncovered. I’ve seen this unfold too many times. Most rapists are serial rapists. They continue because after all, they’re not punished or even caught. Ones who are caught and punished later get tv shows, for fuck’s sake.

    I just wonder how many times this has to happen before everyone reacts to an allegation like this not with rallying around the accused but siding with the victims.

  9. cuervocuero says

    It helps when a major media outlet had something ready to go in response to Ghomeshi blasting open the public doors with his FBomb.

    If Ghomeshi had reined in his need to sob out how mean people were, there’d still be the cone of silence on the ‘soft’ evidence of testimonials.

    I was presented the FBomb by an outragd supporter of JG. I read it twice and thought why are alarm bells going off for me about this being a premptive strike? I pointed out some phrases and said it was almost like it came off a template of a self excuser.

    I was promptly treated to a loud intemperate accusation that I believed kneejerk wymyn conspiracies. I shrugged and said we’ll see. I’d rather it not be true but that wasn’t what JG’s own words were telling me.

    TorStar and 9 testimonies later, it’s interesting to note how *grudging* the acceptance is, with a side plate of grumbling how he’d been waiting for me to ‘say something’ as if gloating was my goal.
    It’s exhausting to oppose such auto-snarl.

    Why’s it so much more comforting or something to believe women conspire in corners to screw over the good life of a man bcuz succubi.

  10. says

    I admit that when Ghomeshi’s facebook post initially appeared, I took an initial stance of accepting it. I have personally known people who got screwed at work or in family law for innocent but non-standard sexual practices.

    But with mounting evidence that Ghomeshi was not honest regarding consent, I can’t support him any more.

    Plus, I’m frankly a little incensed about the damage he’s done to the reputation of BDSM practices.

  11. Saad says

    From that first link:

    Ghomeshi has alleged in a lawsuit filed the next day that CBC made a “moral judgment” that his practice of a bondage-sadism sex life was wrong.

    Really, Jian? Is that what you think you were fired over? Your private sex life?

  12. buffybot says

    So, is this a real-life 50 Shades of Grey, in that a violent, abusive, manipulative man gets away with rape, beatings and emotional abuse because he’s rich and powerful, and gaslights the victims and any witnesses that it’s legit BDSM?

  13. unclefrogy says

    When I hear people say that we expect rapist to be some kind of grab you in the dark with a van and plastic bags and not normal looking guys I have to just shake my head. I mean it is only in modern times and in the popular imagination fed by the media and protected by propriety that such an idea is possible, but such people were not unknown in the past and probably always known about. Mozart wrote a famous and excellent opera called Don Giovanni just such a character which premiered in 1787.
    The rules and laws have always been applied with a distinct differential for the higher the status individuals.
    uncle frogy

  14. sirbedevere says

    Cervantes @10

    It’s Jimmy Savile and he pretty much did get away with it: The truth came out about a year after he died. And it had gone one for decades – probably before Jian Gomeshi was even born.

  15. gerryfromktown says

    Many of us were fans and regular listeners of his thoughtful, insightful radio program. We mourn for the victims and we mourn the loss of what we thought was the best part of the CBC.

  16. sirbedevere says

    Cervantes @10

    Upon re-reading I think you were saying that Ghomeshi’s run didn’t go on as long as Savile’s? Apolofgies. (Pronouns. How do they work?)

  17. gerryfromktown says

    Just so there is no misunderstanding, radio program notwithstanding his abusive behaviours are utterly despicable.

  18. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ghomeshi has alleged in a lawsuit filed the next day that CBC made a “moral judgment” that his practice of a bondage-sadism sex life was wrong.

    Really, Jian? Is that what you think you were fired over? Your private sex life?

    I half wonder if the suit is a PR stunt; the more he plays this like he was fired for sexual preferences, the better he comes off.

  19. sambarge says

    Canada is a large, small country, in a lot of ways. I’ve never lived in Toronto and never met Ghomeshi but I knew he was a slimeball 20 yrs ago.

    I am the same age as Ghomeshi and first came to know of him when he was a member of Moxy Fruvous. They were university-aged singers who toured universities. Successful in a Canadian Content sort of way but still small potatoes enough to join students at the bar after their show. I was a grad student at a Canadian university with lots of friends all over Canada at other universities -many of whom were fans of Moxy Fruvous. That Ghomeshi was a creep was whispered about even then, way back in the dark ages of the late 20th century. I had friends at other schools who partied with the band regularly and they told stories then about how much of a man-slut Ghomeshi was.

    But I’ll point out 2 important things:

    1. Ghomeshi was a man-slut who was too touchy for comfort but no one suggested there was violence attached to his creepy come ons and
    2. Talk about consent has changed the view of what constitutes sexual assault. Back in the 20th century, if you hung out with the band after the show and had sex against your will, you would be unlikely to call it rape. It “got out of hand”. He was “an asshole”. But, like Reva Seth’s experience, you shook it off, severed ties with the guy and went on with your life. You didn’t call it rape because he wasn’t a stranger in a dark alley. You went along willingly to the party or his hotel room, you smoked pot with him, he was a nice guy, he had nice friends, it was cool to be with the band, you fooled around a little, what did you expect. Maybe you preferred Murray but Jian was the guy who invited you along so…

    I’m not suggesting that makes it okay or that a lot of women weren’t traumatized by acquaintance rape (obviously they were, that’s why we talk about it now) but you have to understand the dialogue at the time. People were only starting to talk about “date rape” on campus (you think there’s resistance to affirmative consent now? Jesus, people laughed at the idea of date rape) and the engineering students association still had a naked lady, straddling a canon as their logo. I don’t remember anyone suggesting that Ghomeshi was worse than any other band members they hung out with, who were also looking for the groupie experience – as much as Canadian universities could offer it.

    In any case, maybe it’s because I’d heard about the slimy dude from Moxy Fruvous before he was on CBC but I’ve always had a negative impression of Ghomeshi’s interview style. I’ve tuned in to his shows but only because he was interviewing someone I really liked, not because I liked his style. I found him over-bearing in interviews; I want to hear the interviewee’s answer, not your 3 paragraph question comparing Tragically Hip lyrics to Foucault, thanks.

    Even Ghomeshi’s “moment of glory” when Billy Bob Thornton was an ass to him struck me as being poorly handled. Ghomeshi should have shut down Thornton bitchy tirade or moved off the subject. Instead, he sat there like a deer in the headlights, unsure of how to navigate the situation.

  20. ambassadorfromverdammt says

    As a union member, Gomeshi does not have the legal right to sue his employer over his firing, so the lawsuit is a tactical move – it will likely be dropped or dismissed. However, in the meantime, he gains a couple of things:

    1. He can say anything he wants, or make any allegations he wants in the context of the suit, while the suit exists, as any statement he makes with regard to the suit is privileged, meaning he can’t be sued for slander.

    2. It may discourage some of his victims from coming forward, if they fear being added to the suit, or being sued on their own.

    Basically it gives him the opportunity to tell his story any way he wants to, without evidence, cross-examination, or anything else that might cast doubt on his version. Then, he drops it all and hopefully it all blows away.

    As of yesterday morning, the CBC had not yet filed an answer. If they do, their statements wrt the suit will also be protected, and they will be able to say what they want about Gomeshi.

    The police (OPP) are still saying they need someone to make a formal complaint before they can investigate. I don’t know how true this is.

  21. congenital cynic says

    @25, the current thinking is that the camera that records the sex is in the teddy bear he has, BigEarsTeddy.

    I’m not saying that Ghomeshi is a serial killer (just a serial sexual/physical assault artist), but if any of you remember Ted Bundy, who WAS a serial killer, they share some of the same psychopathological traits. Bundy came off as very charming. He also championed women, at one time working on a phone hotline in a rape crisis centre. I remember reading a story written by one of the women who worked there saying she sometimes had him walk her to her car after her shift was over so she’d get there safely. He was trusted. These predators know how to play their situation to advantage.

    Ghomeshi seems to have left a string of beaten and dumped women behind. No wonder he’s never been able to have a long-term relationship.

    His narcissism, feeling of invincibility, and this pathological approach to women (I think he must hate them) have led him down a very dark path. His public career in this country is finished. He needs to go for psychological help. He’s fucked up.

  22. Jacob Schmidt says


    Jian Ghomeshi was dumped by Navigator, the high-profile crisis management firm retained to protect his public image, because the company believed Ghomeshi lied to them, sources have told the Star.
    “He lied to the firm,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.
    According to the sources, until late Sunday night, Navigator was “buying (Ghomeshi’s) story” that it was a jilted ex-girlfriend who had manufactured lies that Ghomeshi was abusive. One source said the former CBC radio star had convinced the firm that there were no other allegations and there was nothing to be “concerned” about.
    Then, as the Star reported between Monday and Thursday that at least eight women were making serious allegations of assault or sexual harassment against Ghomeshi, the firm decided at a series of meetings that it could not represent someone who, in their opinion, had lied.

    Hahaha, lovely. I wonder how well this is going to go. I wonder if he’ll just blunder, imploding his stories around himself.

  23. sambarge says

    I wonder if they would have kept Ghomeshi on if he’d been honest with Navigator? I mean, it seems like it’s not the violence they have a problem with; it’s the dishonesty.

    Oh well, ethics of a sort, I guess.

  24. nutella says

    You know, if I had an employee who showed me sex tapes of himself with one or several partners, I’d fire him too. Gross and very very NSFW.

    Did he also provide signed permissions from each sex partner for him to show the sex tapes to anyone?

    The violence aspect makes it worse, of course, but showing sex tapes at the office would already be more than sufficient grounds for firing him.

  25. says

    @nutella, I have to imagine that it did not go down with JG waltzing into his boss’s office and announcing he had some home videos he wanted to share. Assuming his judgment was relatively sound (in terms of tactics, not morals), he wouldn’t have made the videos available if he didn’t think he had something to gain by it. He’s said as much: rumors of assault were swirling and he needed to show that the activity was consensual.

  26. nutella says

    So, Corey @32, at your job you would accept the showing of sex tapes at the office? Whether he ‘needed to show’ something or not sex tapes at the office are unacceptable. In every case. Without exception. His managers should not have bee subjected to that.

  27. Saad says

    Did he have a video for each of the women who have spoken out against?

    That’s like a rapist showing the judge a sex tape he once made with his girlfriend and going, “See? I have had consensual sex in the past. Not guilty, please and thank you.”

  28. sambarge says

    Well, whatever Ghomeshi thought he was going to accomplish by doing it, showing the tapes was what led to the termination of employment. Under the Criminal Code, you cannot consent to physical assault. By showing his employer evidence of what amounts to a crime in Canada, regardless of the degree of claimed consent (although how the hell you can tell there was consent?) Ghomeshi cooked his own goose. The CBC lawyers were right to recommend termination.

    The video was evidence that Ghomeshi had opened himself to criminal prosecution and the CBC to discredit by association.

  29. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    To show I didn’t violate anyone’s consent I’ll violate their consent by showing this video of them having sex with me without their permission.

    Absolutely precious.

  30. Saad says

    Sophia, #37

    Was about to say the same thing. Even if we take him at his word, he still basically showed his boss homemade porn. Hilarious.

  31. sambarge says

    This is probably a stupid question but I’m wondering about Ghomeshi’s claim that his partners’ kink included being punched in head while they fellated him. Is that common? I mean, is it normal in BDSM circles to want to be punched in the head? Obviously, I’m not engaged in BDSM kink or I wouldn’t be asking what might be a very stupid question.

    But I’ve been punched in the head (during a fair fight, I’ve never been abused) and it was pretty fucking painful and disorienting. In addition, repeated strikes to the head can lead to permanent damage, as we see in boxers and football players. Athletes wear helmets and can still suffer permanent damage.

    I can imagine there might be some sexual pleasure associated with bondage and/or stinging slaps/whips but a punch to the head?! All I can imagine is disorienting pain, combined with fears of aural nerve and/or ocular damage.

    As I say, I’m not into BDSM and if someone tells me it’s within the normal range of activities, I’ll take your word for it and get this confused look off my face everytime I hear Ghomeshi claim this was consensual.

  32. says

    This entire saga is sickening. When I heard about it on the radio last monday, I shook my head and went “motherfucker”. Ghomeshi’s immediate attempt to well poison and his almost “aww shucks I’m just kinky and the ladies are trying to destroy me” attitude towards the whole thing made my bile rise. Once I looked into it a bit more, I drew my conclusions based on passed affairs of the same kind, Ghomeshi’s replies, and my own inherent red-flag-dar

    When I brought it up in a couple places, I was almost instantly faced with a bunch of denials, supporters, or fence sitters who didn’t want to draw any conclusions except “We need more info, we can’t just send a man to jail for a long time without evidence not to mention ruin his entire life with baseless accusations!!”
    When I countered “testimony from victims is evidence, and the fact that there are at least four corroborating stories is damning enough. And don’t pull that fake-accusation bullshit, it’s sexist and hella bullshit. The very fact that you take his word more than four other women is terrible, especially considering the harm and aggravation that comes from even *hinting* at being a rape victim”, the conversation veered into a “well how do we know it wasn’t consent that was then regretted for kinky things, maybe he should have taped ti to prove it”

    I just vomited in rage and left the convo.

    The whole bullshit about it being consentual BDSM is muddying the waters and driving an even bigger divide into a community I enjoy and am part of, and all so this fucking pus pile can try to defend his rapist actions. Fuck him.
    Jian Ghomeshi is a piece of shit. He needs to be shunned, jailed, and made a pariah and example for society as a whole.
    Jian Ghomeshi is a piece of shit. And the sooner his ass is thrown away, the better everyone will be.

  33. says

    It’s sad indeed what these women have gone through. It’s even sadder that women have to resort to a grapevine to warn each other about such men in a haphazard attempt to protect themselves. And the saddest part of all is that there is no societal mechanism for dealing with men like this to keep them away from innocent victims. Clearly, the way law enforcement and the helping professions deal with this issue is beyond inadequate; it is actually enabling, as has been shown in this case, and allows men like this to get away with this kind of behavior for years before being held to account.

    If any good could come out of this situation, I would hope that it would be for the victims, for psychologists, for moral philosophers and legal theoreticians and law enforcement professionals to come together to formulate a broad societal response to this problem to propose legislation, if that is what is needed, a victims’ association, and to formulate what is needed in counseling, both for victims and perpetrators. What we have now is clearly not working, and what is happening clearly needs to change. That this went on for years with Jian speaks to the societal dysfunction on this issue. It needs to stop.

  34. says

    Further to what you’re saying, Tash, I wonder how many of those who won’t take the word of eight or more women about their sexual assaults, also criticise shari’a for its codification of the relative worth of men’s and women’s testimony.

    Frankly, the codified version seems less evil than our Western one; at least shari’a presents a hard limit that one can reach occasionally. In the Western approach, the limit is relative: “one more than those who have come forward”.

  35. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Except when it reaches the relative point of “too many” – that’s when it’s obviously just women band-wagoning on others’ accusations which miraculously makes all the accusations invalid.

    You can’t win.

  36. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Three women have now gone to the police to lay complaints, including one who is an Armed Forces Captain.

  37. iankoro says


    The air force captain you mention was actually Lucy DeCoutere, who was the first woman to come forward publicly. She’s also an actress, and played “Lucy” on Trailer Park Boys.

    It’s amazing seeing Ghomeshi’s complete lack of self awareness. If I wasn’t familiar with him from Moxy Fruvous, and especially from Q, I don’t think I would be surprised at all, it would just seem like typical disgusting behavior from some entitled, cocky guy.

    But Ghomeshi was one of the last people I’d imagine doing this. He regularly had feminists on his show, And while it was a daytime show that probably focused more on interviews with musicians and authors, the general feel of the show was that it was basically in support of social justice issues. He was a Canadian public radio host. He minored in women’s studies in university. If what you knew about him was what most Canadians knew about him… it’s not hard to imagine him fitting in with the posters here.

    The CBC had revealed that they fired him after seeing “graphic evidence” of his abuse. To learn that this evidence was actually provided by him to demonstrate that consensual sex could result in bruising. Apparently his idea of consent was “Ghomeshi asks, for example, a woman to do something and she does it”.

    This blog post does a good job of explaining how he managed to go on for so long without anyone doing anything: http://www.nothinginwinnipeg.com/2014/10/do-you-know-about-jian/