Imagine the Affable Fresh Air host Terry Gross ensnared in a lurid sex scandal and you’d have a sense of the disbelief in Canada over the firing of Jian Ghomeshi.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation dismissed the popular radio host from his daily talk show Q after receiving unspecified “information” about his private life. Revealed to be accusations by a former girlfriend that Ghomeshi was physically violent, the British-born, Canada-raised 47-year-old admitted in a Facebook post that he had a taste for “rough sex…role-play, dominance and submission” with consenting partners.
By Oct. 30, eight women had come forward with detailed and similar allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Ghomeshi. Only Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere was named. (None of the accusers have filed charges as of press time.)
Now the CBC is asking employees to help with an internal probe. “As part of our continuing investigation, we will take into account any new information available to us, either directly or indirectly,” Roula Zaarour, CBC’s vp people and culture, said in an internal memo obtained by Billboard.
Ghomeshi’s star was rising in the United States, where Q is syndicated to 180 public radio stations. Today, friends are taking sides. Composer Owen Pallett denounced Ghomeshi’s actions on Facebook, writing, “Anonymity does not mean these women do not exist….How our friendship will continue remains to be seen.” But Marusya Bociurkiw, associate professor of media theory at Toronto’s Ryerson University, cautions against getting caught up in the tabloid frenzy, telling Billboard, “There is an ethical mode of journalistic enquiry and it’s up to all of us to set the proper tone.”