Monday, October 27, 2014

Jian, CBC and Me

When I went on my first maternity leave in 2005 I was a little lonely and felt rather isolated. Everyone I knew had a job and was at work. While I built up my at-home social circle I turned to CBC Radio as my daytime companion. It not only filled the quiet in the house, but it made me feel like I was part of the world going on outside my front door. It became my equivalent of the workplace water cooler. 

I particularly enjoyed the morning programming. I stayed up to date on current affairs, heard a variety of viewpoints, and discovered what books people were reading and movies they were going to. It made me feel in the loop even though I was in my home.

Shortly after my second maternity leave when I decided that I would stay home full-time Jian Ghomeshi and Q entered my life when it hit the morning airwaves in the fall of 2008. How glorious that was. Jian had it all: wit, charm and a wonderful voice. He could talk about it all, from the silly to the serious. He had great guests, a great style and great questions. His public persona was close to perfect; he said all the right things and acted in all the right ways. 

Jian, our radio boyfriend, made staying home easier and I loved him for that.

And then this past weekend happened.

Out of the blue Jian and CBC parted ways. Within hours of the announcement by CBC on Sunday, we knew Jian was going to sue CBC for $50 million and that he'd hired a Toronto reputation-saving PR firm. That PR firm got to work quickly and Jian posted on Facebook his version of allegations against him that had not been made public. Within hours he had tens of thousands of fans liking his post and thousands adding comments of adoration and support for him, and disgust for CBC. At this point all the information the public knew had come from Jian. It wasn't until the Toronto Star released it's story last night that we began to see a glimpse into the other side.

I have no idea what the truth actually is. But I am troubled that so many of Jian's fans instantly believed him without even knowing what the allegations were. I'm troubled that so many accept his spin on these women making the allegations. I'm troubled so many have spoken of turning off CBC Radio. I'm troubled.

Whether the allegations are absolutely true or not, I can't help but feel sorry for these women. How can they ever properly have the opportunity to put forward their version of events - even within the criminal justice system. So many people have accepted Jian's version without ever having met him, travelled within the same social circles, or even  been in the same room as him. That's tough to go up against. These women don't have fans and won't have close to 100,000 people liking their Facebook posts that plead the truth. They likely don't have the resources to hire a PR firm. They are in an impossible situation.

So, today, Jian is gone. But I still turned on CBC Radio this morning. Really, it wasn't just Jian that made staying home easier; all of CBC's programming and hosts played a part and I won't be abandoning them. I hope you don't either.

Now, I need to go listen to the Q essay this morning.


  1. I also feel sympathy for these women but you know, the names of complainants in sexual assault cases in Canada are protected by a publication ban. Their identities will not be released if they have him charged and a trial ensues. They should go to the police and lay charges so that all parties can have a judge figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. That is the fairest way to proceed for every person involved, I think. The media is not a proper forum for determining whether Gomeshi is guilty or not.