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“Do you know about Jian?”

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To follow up on my earlier post on prominent ex-CBC radio host and twelfth-rate topical songwriter Jian Ghomeshi, there are now 8 women who have accused him of sexual assault and/or harassment. Should he be criminally prosecuted, he is entitled to due process and the formal presumption of innocence. But the idea that all 8 of these women are lying is too absurd to be worth a moment’s consideration outside that context. In addition, his less-than-frivolous lawsuit would be comical if it weren’t so obviously designed to intimidate his victims under a legal shield.

For your must-reading, I present Melissa Martin’s essay:

Still, the follow-up question, then, the one I keep seeing asked: if so many people knew, why didn’t anyone stick their neck out to stop it?

My question is: would you?

Would you, if you had nothing besides stories that weren’t yours, little things you’d seen, a million tiny red flags that quietly added up to make you feel unsafe? Would you, if sticking your neck out meant publicly taking on one of the most influential people in the Canadian media landscape, someone with more money than you, more lawyers, more protection from his fame? Would you, if you knew that with a few carefully maneuvered cocktail meetings, a few woe-is-me turns of phrase, this person could quietly ensure that you didn’t work in that big town again?

Oh, please. “You see, officer, there was just something about the way he pressed himself against her back, about the way her body tensed and she tried to step away from that… and then my friend asked if I knew about Jian…”

No, no you wouldn’t stick your neck out there. Besides, there was nobody really to listen, nobody to tell it to.

But, really, read the whole thing.

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