Let me begin by stating that when it comes to Jian Ghomeshi as a radio host, I can take him or leave him. I’m neither an adoring fan, nor do I have an axe to grind with the former host of CBC’s Q, a program Ghomeshi is credited with co-creating.
As I write this Ghomeshi is the former host of Q given the CBC’s decision to fire him yesterday after 14 years with the national broadcaster, eight as host of Q. With that sort of background it must be something horrendous that has provoked the CBC to cut loose one of its brightest lights. In fact they have made this move because of “information” they have received about Ghomeshi. But they’re not saying any more than that. Like children in a schoolyard taunting “we know something you don’t know”, the CBC has turfed Ghomeshi without any explanation to taxpaying (ergo CBC supporting) Canadians other than the mysterious “information”.
Not surprisingly Ghomeshi is firing back by launching a $50 million lawsuit. It seems the CBC wanted him to go quietly; to say he was leaving for personal reasons. But he decided that as he had done nothing wrong he wasn’t going to jump, thereby forcing the CBC to push him.
In a world of social media and virtually instant communication the CBC lost round one when Ghomeshi took to Facebook and posted a long explanation. I won’t go into details here, suffice to say Jian liked to play a bit of rough but consensual slap and tickle with consenting women. One of his former partners has been on his case and has made this alleged “information” known to the CBC that resulted in the firing.
If she is alleging that things were not always consensual, then it seems to me a court of law is the appropriate place to air her grievances. And if a court of law determines she was right, then said court should deal with Ghomeshi. But secret bits of “information” are far from being sufficient reason to fire anyone.
Recently many cases of alleged wrong-doing have spurred calls for the suspensions or firings of several professional athletes. With the exception of accusations that come with video proof, aren’t these people entitled to their day in court? Why do we want professional sports leagues and, evidently national broadcasters, to act on allegations before the law deems a person guilty? Is one no longer innocent until proven guilty?
In the wake of the two tragic deaths of Canadian soldiers on home turf, Canada has been praised for many things, including our openness as illustrated in the desire to keep The House of Commons accessible to all, while still safe. If the CBC does have secret proof of some sort of egregious actions taken by Ghomeshi, it behooves them to make it known or turn it over to the police. But to fire him based on information and hope he will go away is both naive and underhanded.