Life has seemingly been hard for disgraced former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi since he was publicly accused of abusing at least 23 women and fired from his job.
The former Q host was acquitted of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance by choking in the spring of 2016. But there were many allegations—ranging from violent sexual assault to workplace bullying—for which Ghomeshi never stood trial nor commented on publicly. Though you wouldn’t necessarily know that from reading Ghomeshi’s 3,400-word cover (read: sob) story for the New York Review of Books.
The piece, published Friday, part of an issue called The Fall of Men, hits readers over the head with how much Ghomeshi has struggled since his fall from grace.
Here are some things we are supposed to feel sad about:
- Ghomeshi no longer has a platform to speak to hundreds of thousands of listeners on a daily basis
- His infamy makes it harder for him to pick up women and make friends
- Money and “influence” made it easier for Ghomeshi to be a dick, blame them
- His crisis management team gave him bad advice
- Reporters are mean
- Lawyers are expensive
- No one liked his dumb YouTube project
Astoundingly, Ghomeshi even tried to take credit for #MeToo, writing, “One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer. There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first.”
That sounds dangerously close to a humble brag.
Only in the vaguest of terms i.e. “I began to use my liberal gender studies education as a cover for my own behavior” did he acknowledge how poorly he treated women.
This was published in an American outlet, for audiences who aren’t likely as familiar with the Ghomeshi saga, and there’s not so much as an editor’s note explaining everything he’s accused of doing.
Ghomeshi also used his father’s death, and racist attacks he faced after the accusations surfaced, to attempt to make readers feel bad for him.
Here’s the thing: no one should feel bad for Ghomeshi. He is accused of being a serial abuser and has suffered severe social consequences because of it—but that’s pretty much the only kind of justice his alleged victims will ever experience.
Beyond a reasonable doubt is an incredibly high standard of proof and in sex assault cases, where there is often only the testimony of the complainant to rely on, it’s notoriously hard to meet that threshold. So while in criminal terms, Ghomeshi is “innocent” the reality is, there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Beyond that, most of the allegations against him were never tested in court.
If the justice system worked differently, Ghomeshi may well be in jail right now. Instead he’s writing cover stories for prestigious literary magazines. Pass the Kleenex.
Follow Manisha on Twitter.