Among the many allegations against former Q host Jian Ghomeshi were those of a former coworker who claimed that her old boss once said he wanted to "hatefuck her." Now, that employee—who was previously anonymous for professional reasons—has come forward with more details about what a fucking ordeal working for Ghomeshi was, and how superiors first ignored her complaints and then lied about it to cover their asses.
Writing for The Guardian, former Q producer Kathryn Borel details exactly how gross working for Ghomeshi was. It went well beyond the "hatefuck" incident.
After that, there were the uninvited back massages at my desk to which it was clear I couldn't say no, during which my host's hands would slide down just a little too close to the tops of my breasts. A year into my time on the job, he grabbed my rear end and claimed he couldn't control himself because of my skirt. Occasionally my host would stand in the doorway of his office when no one was around and slowly undo his shirt by two or three buttons while staring at me, grinning. He once grabbed my waist from behind – in front of our fellow colleague, at the office – and proceeded to repeatedly thrust his crotch into my backside. There was emotional abuse, too: gaslighting and psychological games that undermined my intelligence, security and sense of self. Sometimes that hit harder than the physical trespassing.
Borel says that rather than confront the seemingly-Teflon Ghomeshi, she went to her union with a complaint about his behavior in 2010. "I just needed him to stop," she said. During her meeting with union rep Timothy Neesam, he didn't take notes, but in October 2014 told Borel that at the time of the complaint, it was passed "verbatim" to her people at the CBC and Q. After making the initial complaint to Neesam, she says she was called into Q executive producer Arif Noorani's office days later, and told that "Ghomeshi was the way he was, and that I had to figure out how to cope with that." In short, nobody did a damn thing about it. Borel eventually quit her job at Q.
In October of this year, after the allegations against Ghomeshi hit the headlines, Noorani sent a memo to Q staffers saying that Borel had never met with him, never complained to him about Ghomeshi's behavior, and that if he had heard such a complaint, he would have taken action right away. The union issued a similar memo. Both, Borel claims, are lies, and when she confronted the union about it, more fuckery was unleashed.
I emailed Bruce May, a staff representative at the CMG, and told him the memo was wrong, because I'd spoken to Neesam. May replied that technically the memo was correct, because Neesam was an "elected representative" and not a union "staff member". He asked if that "clarified" things for me, and I said that it did: it clarified that the union was carefully parsing its words to leave casual readers with the impression that I was lying and they had done the right thing.
In other words, the people who protected Jian Ghomeshi are cowardly liars, so blinded by the pursuit of success that they're willing to sacrifice women's safety as acceptable collateral damage.
Borel goes on to assert that the attitude that enabled Ghomeshi's behavior to go unchecked for years is endemic in the CBC, on the staff of Q, and in her former union, and that unless something changes, more Jian Ghomeshis will be made and shielded.
Borel's piece doesn't end with "[mic drop]," but it may as well have. Your move, CBC.
Image via AP