5 More Women Have Accused Jian Ghomeshi Of Assault

Five more women have come forward to accuse former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio host Jian Ghomeshi of abuse and harassment, which makes eight alleged victims in total. Ghomeshi has roundly denied the accusations, claiming that what he did was in fact not abuse but consensual BDSM, and that a jilted former partner had been conspiring against him, reaching out to other women he had formerly dated, in order to bring forth these accusations. Ghomeshi was fired from his job at the CBC, and he claimed in a Facebook post that the CBC fired him because of his BDSM lifestyle:

They later said to me and my team that there is no question in their minds that there has always been consent. They said they’re not concerned about the legal side. But then they said that this type of sexual behavior was unbecoming of a prominent host on the CBC. They said that I was being dismissed for ‘the risk of the perception that may come from a story that could come out.’

The CBC has issued no statement further than this: “Information came to our attention recently that in CBC’s judgment precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian.”

Remember when alt lit publisher Stephen Tully Dierks was accused of coercing women into having sex with him? His initial move — before he started regressing, albeit in private — was to reflect on his behavior and apologize. He wrote:

I clearly gravely misread the situation and Sophia [Katz]’s actions, words, and silence. I am horrified and dismayed, obviously, to read this piece and find out how she felt and thought about the events. I don’t want to be defensive. What I did was very bad regardless of my intentions.

That. That’s all I wish these people — let’s be honest, these men — would do when they’re accused of violence. I understand that the legal consequences of admission are tremendous and that it’s not legally advisable to make a public statement to that effect, not knowing what type of recourse a victim is seeking. But immediately standing up publicly and saying, “Nope, that’s not a thing, that never happened, she’s lying, she’s conspiring,” without taking a moment to consider the possibility that they hurt someone without intending to do so — they don’t have to do that.

Maybe Jian Ghomeshi felt so much of a stigma about engaging in BDSM that he felt like he had to keep it hush-hush and didn’t seek out the best possible information, the best possible help, to make sure that he was going about it safely, healthily, consensually, correctly, with the proper, absolute respect for subs that is due. Maybe he still doesn’t know that what he did wasn’t correct. Standing down and reflecting on that possibility, and apologizing to the women he hurt, would be the right thing to do. Taking responsibility for his own lack of knowledge would be the right thing to do. Instead, he’s blaming everyone but himself — his exes, a journalist who has a reputation for not liking him, his former employer. Everyone has a vendetta against him, in his estimation. If several people with whom I had been intimate had a vendetta against me, all for the same reasons, I would at least consider the possibility that I have some responsibility for that. But that’s if he is just ignorant of good practices, if he’s not lying.

I would be incredibly disheartened if it came out, eventually, that the CBC did in fact fire Ghomeshi merely because they consider BDSM “unbecoming,” and that the issue to them was not about nonconsensual violence, but the idea of having consensual rough play.

If you believe both the women, in that there was not clearly defined communication about boundaries and consent and that they were surprised by his violence and physically hurt, and Ghomeshi, in that he believes that that’s how BDSM relationships work, you can only come to the conclusions that Margaret Corvid and Kitty Stryker have come to, which is that BDSM is simply not an excuse to be abusive and it needs to stop being used as such.

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