I love Jian Ghomeshi. No, wait. Hear me out.
I do love Jian Ghomeshi. He’s one of my idols. I love Q. It’s part of my morning ritual. When I created my own short-lived campus radio show last year, I modelled it (or rather, carbon-copied it) after my CBC man-crush.
I love his coddling interviews. I love his smooth baritone voice. I love his pretentious, cooler-than-thou style.
God help me, I love the man.
But more than I love Jian Ghomeshi, I hate violence against women.
When this story, which I have come to refer as Qinkgate, broke late last week, I was careful not to come out in blaring defence of Jian. While not a journalist by profession, I certainly think like one, a trait I’ve inherited from my father Rob O’Flanagan, a damn-fine journalist.
When a story like this breaks, I am careful to reserve judgement until the facts unfold, which often takes weeks, if not months.
And when this story broke, amid the calls for reinstatement and disbelief at the CBC’s crusty old polite sensibilities and it’s persecution of a treasured media personally who just happened to dig a little kink, I could already see the writing on the walls.
I could see the PR engine ramping up, the Toronto Star putting it’s own star reporter, Kevin Donovan, on the case, and the classic get-out-in-front-of-it crisis management tactics that only work well in the first 48 hours…until the facts start to roll out.
There have been rumours swirling around about Jian for years. And a man of his stature is more vulnerable than most to defamatory accusations.
I have had a couple of romances with unstable women in my life and, although I’ve never faced false accusations of sexual misconduct myself, I have friends who have and I know of careers brought to the edge of ruin as a result.
But the thing is, this is probably not that.
First there were three anonymous lovers and one former employee. Then one had a name. Now there are eight, with two going to police.
It’s heartbreaking to watch it all unfold because, as I’ve already stated, I love Jian Ghomeshi.
But more and more, a picture is starting to form of my idol: a picture of a violent sexual deviant whose fame and adoration and talent and importance can’t save him from this.
And while I still sit on the fences, hoping, praying even for this to all be part of some calculated class-action to discredit a national treasure because, I don’t know, maybe he didn’t call you back afterwards, I’m not holding my breath.
I love Jian Ghomeshi. But more than that, I hate violence against women.
So Jian, I hope it’s not true. I hope it all blows over. I hope it all goes away and you go back to doing what you do so well.
But it probably won’t.
And if it turns out all of this ugliness is true, I hope you go to hell.
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