Over the weekend, the CBC lost one of their preeminent broadcasters to something that smacks of a witch hunt. Jian Ghomeshi, the former host and co-creator of a radio and television program called Q, was let go by the Mother Corp on Sunday.
Rather than be nibbled to death by a thousand ducks, Ghomeshi wisely put the story out in all the salacious details and has initiated a very pricey lawsuit against the CBC for canning him. You can read the whole posting here, but I’ll condense it for you: A saucy, but consenting, relationship that went sour over time and the threats of exposure from the other party.
Ghomeshi did the right (and probably very difficult) thing and went to his employer, explained the situation as he saw it and was duly investigated. There was no formal complaint to CBC HR, no laws broken or lack of consent. Then suddenly Sunday Ghomeshi is out of a job, with no warning, no notice and no recourse but to take to social media to explain his side of the story.
As many of you remember, our moral compass on sexual antics is simple:
- The parties engaged must be of legal voting age in the jurisdiction where the saucy antics are happening.
- All parties must actively consent to the saucy antics.
- Show some class and be discreet. Get a room.
Using our moral test then, children and animals are off limits as they can’t actively consent or are not of age to consent. The rest of it isn’t our business. It might be personally uninteresting, unhygienic or simply too weird for words, but it is not our business. Repeat, is not our business, at least as long the participants are adhering to rule #1 and rule #2. (Those who like to engage in relations dressed in penguin costumes on a bridge over the 401 at rush hour are breaking rule #3.)
Where the sarcastic that resides here rises up, is the conundrum of another CBC host, Sook-Yin Lee, also a superlative broadcaster amongst her other accomplishments, appearing in the 2006 film Shortbus by John Cameron Mitchell.
In Shortbus, there were no simulated sex scenes. That scene where Sook-Yin Lee rubs one out is real and no detail is left to our imagination. Again, CBC threatened to fire Sook-Yin Lee, but viewers, listeners and a line of celebrities intervened. Wisely the Corp backed down and Lee continues to provide entertaining, informative and frequently magical radio on Definitely Not The Opera. Her performance in Shortbus or other behaviors in private, or that she has very candidly disclosed have not diminished the popularity, entertainment or sincerity of her work.
Which leads us to suggest that Ghomeshi gets a few hundred of the fabulous celebrities that he has insightfully interviewed to write letters of protest to CBC brass. The thousands of viewers and listeners of Q will also happily oblige with our regular-schmuck voices. We will suggest that he leave Billy Bob Thornton off the list, but we digress.
So where does it go from here? If there is common sense in the halls of the CBC, they’ll recognize that what Ghomesi does off the clock is none of their business, as long as #1 #2 and #3 are adhered to, then logically he should get a nice apology and his job back. However, the betting line is that common sense at the CBC is as rare as intelligent life in politics, so Jian has some options.
The first one is to leave the public broadcaster and cast his lot with the private bunch. CTV/Bell Media should be getting out the chequebook right snappily and contacting Jian Ghomeshi with an invite to move the show to their playground.
The second is to take a few months, mourn the recent passing of his father and let the lawyers loose on the CBC. The Corp knows they’re already in deep, to at least the tune of the high six figures of a settlement plus costs, so Ghomeshi has a bankroll coming. Reinvent Q as R and do a deal with Netflix, or HBO, or Comcast.
As for the rest of us, speaking as a regular schmuck listener and viewer, we don’t care what you bang or how you bang it, as long as #1, #2 and #3 are adhered to. It’s not our business.