Trigger warning: The following post contains reference to kinky sexual behaviour, allegations of sexual violence, and mental image of a middle-aged hipster in a gimp suit.
However, that trigger warning doesn't cover what I found the most shocking part of this story. The taxpayer funded and long running Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (aka The CBC or Mother Corp) actually fired someone.
That someone is 47 year old radio/TV host Jian Ghomeshi, who was fired from his show Q, over accusations of sexual violence against women.
Ghomeshi's defence is that he admits to being a lecherous creep, but that the alleged violence was in the form of consensual BDSM games, and that he believes that he's been unfairly fired and deserves a payout from Canada's public broadcaster of $50 million.
But I think we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Ghomeshi started out as a singer in a folk/pop band called Moxy Früvous in the late 80s, but the band never really made it big outside of its home base in Toronto and Ghomeshi was recruited by the CBC to be one of their "youthful" on-air personalities. At the time he was considered a perfect match for the CBC, he was just ethnic enough to tick their diversity box, but his middle-class British born/suburban Toronto raised background made him fit right in with the CBC's dominant corporate culture like a hand in a heavy latex spanking glove.
He bopped around from various shows on CBC TV and radio before finding his niche on Q, an hybrid radio/TV arts and pop culture interview show that plays nationally in Canada and on over 200 public TV and public radio stations across the USA.
Now Q needs a new host now that Ghomeshi is out, and while it's unlikely that Ghomeshi will return, a case may be made for him getting at least some kind of payout from the CBC, or to be more accurate the Canadian taxpayer.
It all hinges on whether or not what he got up to with the women was consensual BDSM, and thus a private matter, or a non-consensual criminal case. If the CBC and Ghomeshi's accusers can't make a legally acceptable case proving that he acted criminally instead of just lecherously, they may have to cut him a fat cheque.
Because then he'll claim that he was fired over private sexual business being made public, and then he'll mention a name and a title.
|Sook Yin Lee|
Sook Yin Lee hosts CBC Radio's long running cultural show Definitely Not The Opera, and she also starred in the 2006 indie film Shortbus from director John Cameron Mitchell. Shortbus' is best remembered for featuring graphic, uncensored and un-simulated sexual acts performed by the cast, including Sook Yin Lee.
The CBC threatened to fire her over the film for pretty much the same reasons they fired Ghomeshi, conduct they consider unbecoming an on-air CBC employee. However, the CBC backed down and let her keep her job after being bombarded with accusations of sexism, homophobia, and "censorship" by Sook Yin Lee's defenders.
I'll bet dollars to Tim Horton's donuts that if they fail to prove any sort of felonious activity on Ghomeshi's part, he will claim that the CBC is engaging in a double standard by punishing him for doing in private what she did on screen.
Is Ghomeshi a creep?
Probably. I've yet to hear anyone say anything in his defense that didn't make him sound like a lecherous douchebag.
I don't know what really happened between Ghomeshi and his accusers. That means that I won't declare him either guilty or innocent until after a proper investigation has been done by people who know how to do proper investigations. I don't have any evidence either way, and, the odds are, neither do you, so let's not jump to any conclusions based on accusations and rumours.
Does he deserve a $50 million payoff?
However, that doesn't mean that the CBC won't have to pay him anything. Unless they can prove some serious wrongdoing by Ghomeshi beyond being creepy, Ghomeshi will play the double standard card, and they don't have much of a defence against that.