“Once I was the King of Spain, now I eat humble pie.” These are the words from a number one single in Canada from 1992 by a band named Moxy Fruvous. The song is so old that it was first released on cassette, which is one of those things the old folks used to use to listen to music. Now, they are the words that 48-year-old Jian Ghomeshi, is eating along with a little crow. That song today seems almost prophetic for one of the singers of that band, Jian Ghomeshi. The story of Jian Ghomeshi is now one that starts, not with a great Moxy Fruvous song, but with a great fall as foretold by that song many years ago. Once he was the King of Q, now he eats, humble pie. And a lot of it. As the CBC reported Jan. 30, Jian Ghomeshi’s rise may have taken years to accomplish, but his “fall from grace took less than a week.” That fall will go public tomorrow as Jian Ghomeshi stands trial in Toronto, Ontario, where he faces four counts of sexual assault and one count of “overcoming resistance by choking” for incidents that allegedly occurred between 2002 and 2003.
As the CBC reports, before all of it, Jian was just your average 1990’s University over achiever who was determined to make himself a star. He did all the right things. Ran for school President, and won, a lot of people clapped.
He made sure to have “Women’s Issues” as a minor on his resume, because hey, that can’t hurt, right. He was an equal opportunity over achiever, and seemingly user. Music was the ticket he rode to climb his way to the top.
And he did. However, when the “King of Spain” began to fall, he fell hard from the biggest media platform in Canada, the CBC. So it is kind of ironic that the second stanza in his old Moxy Fruvous song is, “And now I work at the Pizza Pizza.”
Pizza Pizza probably wouldn’t even hire Jian Ghomeshi at this point. The story has fueled a public inferno of disgust when the mere name Jian Ghomeshi is said out loud. The King of Spain has fallen to the King of Shame.
What happened? Legend has it that a little bit of fame and media power went to his head and he found himself smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest abuse of power stories Canada has heard in a while. That’s not the only issue the Jian Ghomeshi trial is exposing.
The Jian Ghomeshi has struck a national conversation on, will this case change sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace for Canada’s future? Since the Jian Ghomeshi scandal came to light, many have been reporting that all this one case does is expose the fact that there is so much more going on that we don’t know about.
Hushed whispers about CBC being a workplace that condoned this kind of harassment in the workplace began to get louder. More and more articles coming out, reporting, it’s not just happening at the CBC, it’s happening everywhere. We reported on one of them.
That was, the sexual harassment scandal happening on Parliament Hill that, still, nobody is talking about. So thank you Jian Ghomeshi for striking this national conversation. Probably one thing he didn’t expect to leverage from his “Women’s Issues” minor.
How did it all happen? A timeline has been developed by the CBC. After over achieving in University, Jian Ghomeshi continued to overachieve and find himself in the company of all of the right people to help him do so. Fast forward a few years and now he’s at the CBC, pitching his show “Q” which was to have people more involved and connected with Canadian art culture and music.
It was a great show. A pinnacle in his career. Until one October day in 2014 when everything changed for Jian Ghomeshi. The show has gone on, but without Jian Ghomeshi, as his resume for the King of Shame begins to build.
It was Oct. 24, 2014 when Jian Ghomeshi just “all of a sudden” wanted to take a little leave. Called it personal time, and even tweeted some thanks.
“Thanks for all the well wishes, you guys, I’m OK.”
Well, he wasn’t really and that was the beginning of his end. Two days later the CBC announced he had been fired saying, we’ve learned things about him that “precludes” them from employing him. Jian Ghomeshi took to Facebook in a now infamous 1,509 word post saying he had “done nothing wrong” according to the Toronto Star, and that he,
“Does not engage in non consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.”
Was he suggesting he was going to sue people if they spoke up? It did sound that way to a lot of people. And that is Abuser Lingo 101. How to expose you are an abuser? Threaten to shut people up.
It looked bad. And someone important must have advised him of that because that post poof disappeared. And so did his entire Facebook account.
But, it didn’t stop victims from saying something. The women began to line up with complaints about Jian Ghomeshi, that sounded like deviant cases of sex gone really wrong, or flat out sexual assault. It will be up to the courts to figure that one out.
4 of those counts are making it into the Jian Ghomeshi trial that starts tomorrow. And one of those charges includes the word “choking.” This is why the name Jian Ghomeshi, who minored in Women’s Issues, makes people wince.
So the next day, Jian Ghomeshi decides to sue CBC for wrongful dismissal, and valued himself at $55 million dollars in the process. He would later drop that lawsuit, as he sunk further into the hole of the King of Shame.
A few days later, on Oct. 30, 2014, the first victim would put a name to her face. That is Lucy DeCoutere who is an actress on the hit Canadian show Trailer Park Boys. The CBC says she described a date with Jian Ghomeshi using the word “violent” that involved slapping and choking.
And that is when the women really began lining up, thanks to the bravery of Lucy DeCoutere. A New Brunswick woman came out and had a very similar story. Oct. 31, two more ladies came forward as well.
These ladies, who are saying they are victims of a sexual assault crime, are going to be accused of colluding on their stories during the Jian Ghomeshi trial. There is only one way a criminal defense attorney can attack this problem. Their strategy will be to try to discredit the victims.
Because that’s all they have. And that’s one reason a lot of women don’t report these crimes to begin with. The victim ends up on trial, as was the case with the victim in the Judge Camp ruling who kept being called “the accused” and was asked by Judge Camp why she didn’t just keep their knees together.
The Jian Ghomeshi trial will be most difficult for those victims. The truth is, the things that these victims will be testifying to in the coming weeks, are things no woman ever wants to say out loud ever. Never mind on a national stage. Nobody would make anything like this up, never mind put their name to it, against a former power player like Jian Ghomeshi.
The defense will try very hard to make it look like these victims colluded to bring Jian down. They will try very hard to show that these women shouldn’t be believed. It will be interesting to see how they try that.
Not many women describe “being choked” as things they like doing on dates. Will the defense try to convince us that Lucy DeCoutere wanted to be choked? Or is making it up? Not sure which tactic would be worse.
Regardless of what the defense comes up with, it is clear that those victims are believed by a lot of very important and credible people, people even bigger than Jian Ghomeshi. He got fired, and now he’s on trial. Two, actually. There are just that many women with complaints.
Maclean’s reports one sexual assault indictment alone could be a 10 year sentence. By January 2015, 3 new women had come forward to say the same. Jian was given more charges. Some of those have since been dropped.
However the end result is that Jian Ghomeshi will face two trials, to cover all of the women that are accusing him of sexual assault. The first trial begins tomorrow, where he will face 5 of the current 6 charges against him. His second trial is scheduled for June of this year where he will face one of his charges separately.
The first trial begins tomorrow, and will be a bench trial where the Crown rules and presides as is the case for sexual assault cases. In other words, no jury. The presiding judge is Ontario Court Justice William Horkins reports Maclean’s magazine. Maclean’s reports that one lawyer described this judge as tough when it came to reasonable doubt, a factor they reported as one that would be more advantageous to the Crown, or the prosecution in this case.
“He’s very smart, doesn’t suffer fools and is known as a tougher judge. A lot of judges have a much wider strike zone of reasonable doubt than him.”
Representing the defense is Marie Henein who is not unaccustomed to high profile trials. She is known for her ruthlessness. On her resume is the high profile acquittal of former Nova Scotia Premier and Cabinet Minister Gerald Regan who was charged with 8 counts of rape in 1993.
We know she is going to try and destroy the victims as McLean’s report says that a former client of hers, Michael Bryant compared Henein to “Hannibal Lecter” saying she channeled him. He also wrote in a book called 28 Seconds that,
“So able was she to find a person’s deepest frailties and exploit them.”
It takes a classy person to exploit the frailties of a sexual assault survivor. From a woman no less. Let’s hope Henein doesn’t take that approach.
Representing the Crown or prosecution is Michael Callaghan who is being assisted by co-counsel Corie Langdon. Callaghan has a career of prosecuting for the Crown and is described by lawyers in a Maclean’s report as much different than Henein.
“He’s a low key guy, methodical, a hard worker, very smart. He’s competent, he’s not a super star, he’ll do a good job….You’ll have a hard time finding anyone who would say anything bad about him.”
The first big question of the Jian Ghomeshi trial? Will he testify? Some experts say, he would be stupid to. Others say, he would be stupid not to. One told Maclean’s magazine,
“You have a number of complainants saying they were sexually assaulted. Without him giving his version it would be very difficult to secure an acquittal.”
It’s a good thing for him that Jian Ghomeshi will not be tried by a jury of his peers. The court of public opinion has definitely turned on him. A look at some of the social media posts that have circulated on him since 2014 shows how disgusted the public is with the very name of Jian Ghomeshi.
Some social media tweets and posts even suggest there are more victims than the charges he will begin to face tomorrow. One Facebook post about Jian Ghomeshi says what many victims following this trial are thinking,
“This is why victims don’t come forward. This is what we get.”
By “this”, that particular Facebooker was saying, being publicly shamed for saying we have been sexually assaulted. Another social media by the Twitter handle of @bigearsteddy took to Twitter to address the King of Shame.
“So I guess it’s not abuse if you’re paying the girl to like it. Right, @Jianghomeshi? #happyhitting #hookerhero Hi there, @JianGhomeshi. Remember louring me to ur house under false pretences? Bruises don’t lie. Signed, every female Carleton U media grad.”
You can catch some of the social media reactions in our slideshow. The Toronto Star has the full text of the infamous Jian Ghomeshi Facebook Post, and an excerpt can be seen in the slideshow as well. Watch the video here of Jian Ghomeshi singing with his band mates Moxy Fruvous in 1992, “Once I was the King of Spain, now I eat, humble pie.”
Do you think this case has the potential to change the national conversation on sexual assault? Could the Jian Ghomeshi trial change the rate at which sexual assault victims are currently reporting?