Posted on 26 October 2014
What follows is a record of what was written before we knew what we know now.
I woke up this morning to this statement in my inbox and a number of Tweets and Facebook posts announcing that Jian Ghomeshi and CBC have parted ways.
At this point I want to make something clear: I am writing this as Andrew, the guy who works for CBC, not the CBC, or as an official spokesperson for CBC , or anything like that. I am finding this out the same way everyone else is – via Tweets, reporters, and statements. I don’t know anything that isn’t publicly available. And I’m not speaking for anyone but myself.
That said, I’m writing this because I do work for CBC in Prince George, and Jian Ghomeshi is/was scheduled to come speak here in November and there is also a campaign to bring Q to Prince George this coming February. So there are questions being asked around those things and I can say what I know which, be forewarned, isn’t much.
Update: yes, I’ve seen the Facebook post. So now I know that version/side. But I can’t conclude the guilt or innocence of anyone without more than this. I simply don’t have enough information to conclude who, if anyone, is in the wrong here. I am not close enough to anything to make any definitive conclusions. I’m aware of the conversations and context around the way women are treated and often dismissed in these cases. I am not ruling that out. I’m not ruling out any other possibilities, either. I simply don’t know. But I am having a tough time imagining a conclusion where all involved look good, and I feel good about all involved. I just feel sad about the whole thing.
Why is Jian leaving CBC?
The only official statement I have is the screenshot above from CBC’s internal communications. That same statement appears on the CBC story about the departure, which has now been updated to include the bit about Jian suing for $50 million. The same information appears on the Globe and Mail and elsewhere. I will note that there is also a line in the notice of court action that Ghomeshi will “commence grievance for reinstatement under the CBC’s collective agreement.” So the door is there for him to return, but your guess is as good as mine as to whether that will happen.
Update: Jian Ghomeshi made a statement on Facebook saying he was fired for private, consensual sexual acts that turned into a campaign of false allegations. Again, I’ve no clue as to how much of this is true or untrue or what. Just the statement.
Is Jian coming to Prince George in November?
Jian Ghomeshi was originally scheduled to come speak in Prince George at the end of September. That was rescheduled because of his father’s health issues, which resulted in his recent passing. The new date chosen was November 7.
This appearance was independent of Ghomeshi’s role with CBC. It is being organized by the Prince George Citizen and Ghomeshi’s role with the National Speakers Bureau. I’ve asked the Citizen for any updates they have, but this whole thing is developing, and I’m sure they only have a slightly better idea than I do at this point.
Update: I’ve been told there have been no changes to the plans as of yet. This was prior to Jian’s Facebook post, which may or may not affect anything. Another update, post-Facebook: the editor of the Citizen says “we haven’t heard from @ or his agent so @ believes he will honour his nov.7 speaking engagement in #cityofPG”
Will Q come to Prince George?
Concurrent with Ghomeshi coming as a speaker, there has been a campaign underway to have his radio program Q record an episode in Prince George sometime in 2014.
The status of that was positive – Ghomeshi and his producers were aware of the campaign, had positive things to say about it, and were looking into the logistics.
Obviously, Q and Jian Ghomeshi are one and the same in many people’s minds, mine included. So when the campaign was to bring Q to Prince George the thinking was it would be Q with Jian Ghomeshi coming to Prince George. But it looks as though Q with Jian Ghomeshi may be a thing of the past.
For now, CBC has said Q will continue with guest hosts. How that would affect their decision to come to Prince George or not, I don’t know. I can only imagine how difficult it would be trying to organize the logistics of the next week of Q right now, let alone their travel schedule for the next year.
My personal thoughts
The first time my name was ever on CBC was when Jian read my letter in support of the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” on the series 50 Tracks back in 2004. I was a first year university student and this was the first CBC show I had listened to with any regularity. After it came on, I got phone calls and messages from family and friends in other places that had heard it. I experienced first-hand the power a national broadcaster has to unite people across the country, even if it’s over something as simple as a pop song.
That show and that experience was one of my gateways into the world of CBC. The influence Jian’s had on both on my own career and on CBC in general is immeasurable. When I was an announcer, he was one of about three or four people who’s delivery I analyzed to try and develop my best possible radio voice. I once jokingly wrote a list of things people ask you when they find out if you work at CBC, and “do you know Jian?” was near the top.
Again, I don’t know the details of this. I know CBC as a place that has been great for me to work and Jian Ghomeshi as a voice that has been great for me to listen to and learn from. I don’t know
anything the full story behind why they are parting ways, who did what, or what’s been said. I am not choosing sides because, frankly, I don’t know what the sides are or if they even exist. I joked on Twitter that this is like finding out your parents are getting a divorce and mom is suing dad for $50 million. It’s an exaggeration, but the sentiment does ring true. They seemed to get along so well! How could this possibly be happening?
At this point I am simply a fan. A fan of CBC, of the Q team, and of Jian Ghomeshi as a broadcaster. I am sad to see them part ways, but I have no doubt that all involved are talented enough to find success in whatever they do next, should that be in the cards. So I’ll simply echo much of what’s already been said, to all involved: thank you, and good luck.
Update: again, I’ve seen the Facebook post. And I’ve seen the rumours. I am not close enough to anything to make any definitive conclusions. I’m aware of the conversations and context around the way women are treated and often dismissed in these cases. I am not ruling that out. I’m not ruling out any other possibilities, either. I simply don’t know. But I am having a tough time imagining a conclusion where all involved look good, and I feel good about all involved. I just feel sad about the whole thing.
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