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As the allegations unfurled with grisly details, a new chorus emerged, with those close to Ghomeshi coming forth to say, “We knew something was off,” or, at least, “We should have known.” Articles appeared in cartoonist Steve Murray: “Every time a Jian profile is about to come out, I’m like ‘FINALLY,’ and then it’s a puff piece and I get so goddamned angry.” The behaviour they referenced was Ghomeshi’s reputation as a cringe-inducing pick-up artist with a fondness for much younger women.
Toronto police launched an investigation, with three women, including actress Lucy De Coutere (), coming forward to lay complaints, and the nation had been introduced to “Big Ears Teddy,” Winnie the Pooh’s dark doppelgänger.Everyone bridled—at least privately—at his mood swings and his penchant for playing staff against one another.The predominantly female staff found themselves reduced to tears by his tirades.The letter, addressed to “my friends and family,” would inflame his progressive audience, despite the many telltale red flags—the retrograde “jilted girlfriend” trope, summoning , the “freelance writer” with an axe to grind, and the claim that CBC had seen proof that all the sexual acts he was accused of were consensual, as if that were even possible.Ghomeshi, with the help of Navigator, a high-profile damage-control firm, invoked valued Canadian touchstones: He referenced the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, echoing Pierre Trudeau’s “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” What he called his BDSM sexual practices were likened to scenes in Lynn Coady’s Giller prize-winning book.Anger percolated over the seeming disconnect between the allegations and Ghomeshi’s public persona as an enlightened, sensitive progressive who called Jack Layton his “mentor,” who has interviewed political dissidents such as Ai Weiwei, and who tweets out support for white-ribbon campaigns.
Ghomeshi had even been touted as a perfect Toronto mayoral candidate in 2012 by his friend Richard Florida, the social economist who coined the term “creative class.” “I would like to see a younger person and someone who is not the usual suspect; someone who looks and acts like Jian Ghomeshi,” Florida told .
“The culture was horrifying because of Jian,” says a former female producer.
“He was a master of mind games,” says another former staffer.
studio that had seen performances by Arcade Fire and visits from Margaret Atwood, Ghomeshi began as he always did: with the trademark cheesy pick-up line addressed to a nation: “Well, hi there,” he intoned in his velvet baritone.
What followed was another ’s tongue-in-cheek protest against Kraft Dinner removing the artificial dye that made its noodles neon-orange prompted Kraft to create and tweet a mocked-up KD package with Ghomeshi’s face and the message: “Well, hi there, Jian Ghomeshi, you smooth-talking, early-rising, exquisitely coiffed national treasure.” The essay he read on Oct.
The warnings, beginning with the fact that we were only hearing one side of the story, were there for anyone who wanted to see.