CBC's cult of denial: heads should roll for ignoring Ghomeshi improprieties
Yesterday, I clenched my jaw and fumed as I listened to former Q chase producer Roberto Veri tell CanadaLand’s Jesse Brown about the time he watched Jian Ghomeshi dry-hump a Q staffer.
He may seem like a joke, but weirdo TV star “Ed the Sock” has been around the media in Canada for nearly 30 years, and he’s seen ‘em come and go. He posted a Facebook update that tells a story of two very different CBC stars. Strombo, he wrote, was often such a nice guy that he once went out of his way to find a kosher pizza place and paid crazy delivery rates so that his one Orthodox Jew intern wouldn’t be left out of a pizza party.
Then there’s Ghomeshi, of whom he says:
“According to numerous stories, some published some not, Ghomeshi was a workplace tyrant, yelling at people for headphone levels and other minor crap. Why? because he could. He was inappropriate with women at work. Again, because he could be.
First of all, Ghomeshi isn't unique. Okay, the bedroom abuse he doled out may qualify as somewhat atypical, but not the abuse in the office.
The TV biz is way too tolerant of shitty behaviour by 'stars'. They're allowed to get away with things because applying common standards of decency to them might somehow rob them of their muse, putting everyone out of work.
This also applies to some executives who are left in place because they get results, regardless of the pirate galley they run.
Talent is a mystery to many, including many who think they have some, so those basking in the brilliance are afraid to do anything to upset the alchemy that turns a shithead into gold.”
Is this why Noorani and others may have stayed silent? No one dare kill the golden calf? After all, even Roberto Veri told Jesse Brown the same thing -- stars were allowed to be moody, miserable, anything they needed to be, as long as they brought the A-game when they went on-air.
How Could Others Know, But Not Management?
Even if we’re just talking about misogyny, did the CBC know just how nasty Ghomeshi is alleged to have behaved? We have to keep coming back to that question. Did Noorani magically create the most densely insulated studio on the planet to make a massive buffer between the CBC’s golden boy and any of the corporate brass? Was hands-off ignorance of these interactions really possible, given how much the CBC relied on Q to dominate the airwaves?
Somehow, I doubt it. Knowledge of Ghomeshi’s antics seem so widely known that students from University of Western Ontario were advised not to intern at Q because one intern told profs of another incident in which Ghomeshi reportedly pressed his pelvis against her from behind.
Others had an idea, too. They weren’t in the same office or even in the same company, but they still knew. Like Slate music critic Carl Wilson, who writes, “There was chatter at parties, stories of pushed boundaries, of Jian hitting on woman after woman. You’d heard this kind of talk about journalists in town before, but usually about men of an older generation, not your own. The gossip was sometimes kind of funny, sometimes simply gross. On one or two occasions, a little darker, in ways you couldn’t really parse.”
Let’s Give the CBC Some Wiggle-Room
The CBC tells us they never knew the extent of this supposed “BDSM” violence that Ghomeshi was trying to explain away for months, not until that fateful Thursday, Oct. 23rd meeting that resulted in their firing him after he disclosed videos and pictures.
I’m willing to believe this. I have to believe this. I need to believe that no one in my beloved Ceeb would turn a blind eye to the beating of women. So let’s take them at their word: They didn’t know about women pushed against concrete walls, the blows to the head, or other excessive violence he is accused of committing.
Even still, the extent to which it is alleged Jian Ghomeshi was given free reign to be an misogynistic dirtbag just blows my mind. More and more, we’re told interns and others were warned to stay away from Ghomeshi, that he was handsy and gropey.
So either the upper-management didn’t know what was going on, or they decided to ignore the happenings, for the very reason Ed the Sock mentioned -- they were “afraid to do anything to upset the alchemy that turns a shithead into gold.”
The Incredible Disconnect
Let’s turn to blissful days of yore, in March, 2013, when CBC’s president Hubert Lacroix stood before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women and told them: