GhomeshiGate – Part 3: CBC’s Ongoing War Against its Female Employees

Who would have believed that CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster- Canada’s conscience- the home of such beloved Canadian icons as Wayne and Shuster,  Barbara Frum, Peter Gzowski, Knowlton Nash and Lloyd Robertson, could have fallen so far and so fast?

Two words. Jian Ghomeshi. The former host of “Q”, CBC English Radio’s flagship cultural/media/entertainment program. Where all the cool/ hip Canadian stars of the music/tv/film/literary/media world (dubbed by self-promoting Toronto social cultural rock star Richard Florida as the “cultural class”) hung out.

Hey, Florida, are you still touting Ghomeshi as your ideal pick for Toronto mayor?

The Toronto Grid, in July 2012, reported that Richard Florida, in addition to looking down upon the hundreds of thousands of mostly non-white working class voters in the Toronto suburbs who supported Mayor Rob Ford, opined, “ I would like to see a younger person and someone who is not a usual suspect. Somebody who looks and acts like Jian Ghomeshi.”

With each passing day and with each new revelation and allegation of Ghomeshi’s horrible conduct towards women both within and without the very offices of CBC, the reputation of the CBC,  now known as the Creepy Broadcasting Coverup, keeps falling and falling into the bottomless abyss of public disgust.

(Please note that no charges have been laid to date and accordingly, nothing has been proven in court)

Mounting evidence that CBC female employees were allegedly victimized by Ghomeshi

New and disgusting allegations against Ghomeshi are coming out so fast and (Moxy) Fruvous, that CBC’s Executive VP Heather Conway’s disastrous PR spin, is ironically contributing to CBC further spinning out of control and down the rabbit hole, where reputation and public trust are irretrievable.

For those keeping score. Nine women have complained about Ghomeshi. Two women have gone public and three women have filed complaints against Ghomeshi with the police.

In addition, Roberto Petri, a former “Q” producer,  ( 2009-2010) admitted on Jesse Brown’s podcast, CanadaLand (kudos to Brown, the freelance blogger for initially breaking the Ghomeshi story), that he witnessed Ghomeshi, while a female “Q” producer was bent over her desk in CBC,  pressing his pelvis several times against her backside. In effect, humping her.

This is the same female “Q” producer who brought her complaints to Ghomeshi’s executive producer, and this executive producer, ignored these complaints of sexual harassment and abuse, protected Ghomeshi and blamed the victim and suggested she improve the atmosphere at “Q”.

Roberto Petri also admitted on this same show, that another female executive producer of “Q” confided to Petri that she was aware of a young Canadian actress, on a date with Ghomeshi, was choked by Ghomeshi without her consent, in an apparent and alleged effort by Ghomeshi to engage in autoerotic asphyxiation sex.

In short, there is mounting evidence that CBC female employees were allegedly victimized by Ghomeshi. According to former “Q” employees, many CBC employees (either producers or executive producers) either witnessed these activities or knew of these activities being carried on by Ghomeshi within CBC and without CBC.

But according to Petri, no CBC management did anything to report this behavior because Ghomeshi was the brand and he was considered a valuable asset. And apparently, CBC had to protect this valuable asset by permitting Ghomeshi to get away in plain sight with allegedly physically, emotionally and sexually abusing CBC female employees and other female “dates” Ghomeshi had acquired through his CBC work and CBC-related media work.

Culture of Fear

The Globe and Mail unearthed another piece of damning evidence against Ghomeshi and the CBC. In a valiant effort to minimize Ghomeshi’s reign of terror, in July, 2012,  six “Q” staffers met secretly outside of the CBC and the prying eyes of Ghomeshi and his fiercely loyal second in command,  “Q” executive producer, an alleged enabler,  Arif Noorani. Shades of the infamous Shah of Iran and his brutal secret security force, Savak.

This group of six drafted and provided to the above-noted Noorani, and Linda Groen, director of network talk show, the now famous “Red Sky” memo, denoting the fact this document had to be drafted in secret as opposed to an open, “Blue Sky” environment.

“Just the fact that we had to present [the proposals] in this way speaks to the culture of fear – that these things weren’t things that we felt we could address on an ongoing basis,” said a staffer who was involved in drafting the proposals.”

The document described the work culture of CBC as being unsustainable and unsafe. The document specifically criticized Ghomeshi for creating a culture of terror– ruling “Q” at his whim-punishing staffers who opposed him or crossed him. Specifically, this document demanded that Noorani and CBC management should hold the “host to account, rather than operating out of fear of ‘stirring the beast. Also that CBC should set boundaries on Ghomeshi to protect staff members.

CBC was complicit and contributed to this war against women

CBC staffers did the right thing. But as the Globe reported, CBC did nothing and nothing changed.

You do not need an expensive, former CBC commentator and work law legal specialist to connect the dots.

Though allegations of sexual harassment were not noted in this document, it is very clear that Ghomeshi created a culture of fear, dominance and intimidation. He controlled the careers and lives of these poor vulnerable mostly female staffers. He clearly mistreated his female staffers horribly with the knowledge and consent of CBC management. In such an environment, CBC stands rightfully accused of permitting this “beast” to prowl the halls allegedly abusing and preying on female staffers and guests. And thus CBC is also complicit and accessory to Ghomeshi’s alleged crimes and war against women.

In effect, Ghomeshi’s own private war against women. And because it is apparent that CBC management knew of this war against women and did nothing, I strongly argue that CBC was complicit and contributed to this war against women.

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