Thursday, November 06, 2014

How are the mighty fallen

When popular CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was first reported as having been summarily dismissed on allegations of sexual abuse and harassment back on October 26th 2014, my own initial reaction was similar to that of many others I read: the dastardly and reactionary CBC were overreaching themselves once again; a knee-jerk reaction by a prudish and narrow-minded corporation; there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation; etc, etc.
Of course, as we now know, despite Ghomeshi's outraged response that his "adventurous" sexual practices were wholly consensual and should not be subject to the scrutiny of either his employer or the press, the CBC's reaction may not have been quite as precipitous and knee-jerk as it appeared, and that there may well be much truth in the allegations of non-consensual behaviour amounting to sexual abuse. At least nine women have now come forward with their claims, along with some details of Ghomeshi's agressive and tyrannical management style and the "culture of fear" that pervaded his studio.
While the allegations remain as yet unproven, the affable and convivial man we thought we knew so well is starting to appear in a whole new light. Ghomeshi was the nearest thing the CBC had to a superstar, and his morning program Q was a mainstay of CBC's day. I too was a big fan of his easy-going yet percipient interviewing style, and I had a great deal of respect for his hard-working attitude and for the brand he had developed for himself. Little was I expecting these sordid revelations of a Jekyll-and-Hyde persona, and the whole affair presents a sobering example of how our preconceptions can blind us, however open-minded and perceptive we might think ourselves.
Whatever happens in the CBC's own third-party investigations and the parallel Toronto Police probe into his activities, Ghomeshi's moment in the sun is clearly over, and the apex of his career can only be succeeded by a crashing fall, with scant likelihood of a dignified exit from public life.
As David exclaims in the Bible, after the death of his friend and rival (and possibly homosexual lover) Jonathan: "How are the mighty fallen".

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