At this point, a whopping 23 women have accused former Q host Jian Ghomeshi of sexual assault or harassment. Meanwhile, Ghomeshi's old employer, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, continues to relentlessly flub their handling of the situation. Earlier this week they announced plans to pull down the archived Q shows featuring Ghomeshi, a move that has disturbed many people.
Current and former CBC employees have alleged that the network's higher-ups knew about Ghomeshi's creepiness for a long time, hearing about it directly from at least one female producer on his show. (Nobody at CBC has precisely admitted to that or really taken any responsibility for letting Ghomeshi continue to run amok.) On Monday, maybe as some sort of mea culpa, more likely as an attempt to scrub the tainted Ghomeshi name from an otherwise popular show, Cindy Witten, senior director of CBC Radio Talk, was quoted as saying: "Jian Ghomeshi is no longer the host of Q. He faces serious charges. We are currently searching for a new host and re-imagining the program. And we're in the process of taking old episodes offline. We're focusing on the future."
Jesse Brown, the Canadaland journalist and media critic who broke the Ghomeshi abuse scandal, criticized that decision, pointing out that, among other things, those archives are important for reporting purposes. When the first accuser came to him, he writes, he used the archives to fact-check some of her claims. Now, he adds:
The revelations keep coming, and there are dozens of untold stories within those archives. Journalists need them.
Academics might need them too. Can psychologists gain some insight into narcissistic personality disorder by listening to Ghomeshi's interviews? What can be gleaned about mass psychology, about the dangers of celebrity and charisma, about gender and about media from those archives? What can we learn from the way Ghomeshi lied to an entire country about who he was, almost every weekday, for three hours a day, for seven years?
Ghomeshi's body of work is a stunning document of deception.
Besides that, he adds, it's unfair to the artists featured on the show: "This is why the show exists: to promote and feature Canadian art and culture. Why should our artists pay for Ghomeshi's sins?"
CBC says they're now soliciting feedback on what should be done with the archives, and has clarified that nothing has been deleted just yet.
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