We have had two local blogs weigh in on “Jiangate” in the last week or so. The first I already talked about in my last post. A clumsy effort by Hamilton Drain Gazette to get a few laughs. Which is at one end of the spectrum of this debate. The other by 97.7 The Beach’s Mariane McLeod in McLeod’s Musings. Which is at the other end of the spectrum, in my humble opinion.
Mariane’s post really bothered me, it seemed to paint all of us of the male persuasion with the same brush. I had a long comment all written up but then I remembered she gave me a bollocking last year for being disrespectful in that space, so I emailed her instead. This is the part where I would normally post that email conversation, but I am trying to mend my wayward blogging ways and this was a private email conversation, so I will refrain from sharing.
In Mariane’s post she says that men have a habit of being deferential and feeling the need to “explain” things to women. My basic response to this was that that is not a gender issue this is a know-it-all issue. Case in point I am constantly having things “explained” to me like how to load a dishwasher, how to drive, how to write a blog, how to play soccer, how to ply my trade. There are people of both genders in life that just always feel the need to explain. But this was never an argument I could win, because just by emailing Mariane I was “explaining” things to her and thereby proving her point. We left everything all good, so no harm done.
So now let’s talk about “Jiangate”. I have never been a big fan of the CBC. It has always bugged me that we subsidize them to the tune of $1.2B per year and they still have commercials, and a left of centre political viewpoint. The British do the same thing with the BBC (subsidize it through TV licences) but it is commercial free and the programing is second to none. The CBC’s programing on the other hand, with one or two exceptions, is pretty cheesy (does anyone actually watch Republic of Doyle?). CBC radio I find very elitist talking about subjects that interest a small minority of the population. That is why up until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of Jian Ghomeshi.
I obviously know about him now, because you can’t open a newspaper or online news site without seeing another salacious story about him. There are many aspects of this story I find both interesting and disturbing at the same time. I guess I am a little naïve maybe, because there are very few women that work in my industry and those that do would not put up with any nonsense from anyone, let alone sexual harassment. So I was under the false impression that this kind of behaviour, in the work place, was a thing of the past.
The part about this story I find most disturbing, is that it was common knowledge that this creep was a serial sexual harasser. Female interns would return from a stint with him and his show and members of the York University media studies faculty would be joking about whether this guy had tried it on with them or not. Also it seems it was a standing joke at the CBC that Ghomeshi had some strange sexual preferences, but because he and his show Q were so popular it seems much of this was swept under the carpet. Now the CBC in full damage control starts an investigation and lawfare with him. I think not because of what he had done in the hallowed halls of the CBC, but because he sued them for $55M. If Ghomeshi had gone away quietly I believe we would never have heard a thing about any of it. This will end up in the courts both civilly and maybe criminally. But here is the kicker, no matter how many online hashtag feeds and Facebook sites get set up, Ghomeshi will never get convicted of anything and he will probably get well compensated for being unfairly dismissed. The reason? The nature of the offences he has been accused of committing, are of a “he said she said” nature, they a few years ago and he has a presumption of innocence. His career is more than likely now over and we will all eventually move on.
The lesson that we learn from all this is we must instill in all our children both boys and girls from a very early age that it is not OK to both be harassed or abused and to harass or abuse other people. No matter what the gender or sexual preference. If any one of these woman had immediately gone to the police when this idiot slapped them around this story would have been over long ago. Because of this I will sit down with all three of my kids (two girls and a boy) and have a discussion on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the dating scene or their future workplace.
In terms of sexual harassment in the workplace, this actually needs to be dealt with at a provincial ministerial level and the ambiguity needs to be removed from the working environment as follows: No person of either gender or sexual preference should comment on another person’s clothes, hair, “package”, make-up, sexlife, boobs, butt, legs, biceps, abs, weight, lack of hair etc. First time it happens verbal warning, second time written warning, third time dismissal. On the other side of this the penalty for making a false accusation in this regard is instant dismissal. We already have pretty stringent labour laws in this country and if a boss sexually harasses an employee, all it takes is a call to the Ministry of Labour and hell fire will reign down upon that employer. Believe me an employer does not want to go toe to toe with the MOL. Or dance with a labour lawyer with a human rights claim against them.
So that’s my take on things as usual all comments and discussion on this very important issue are welcome below.