Just because you like them, doesn’t mean they’re not capable of doing horrible things. Just because you’ll miss their work, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished. As we can see with the case of Jian Ghomeshi, people came immediately to his defense. Why? They’re fans! He’s a great radio host! The person that they’ve listened to time after time can’t possibly have assaulted women.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction that happens to the best of us. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt, even though we know that power, fame and money corrupts. With Ghomeshi, our gut tells us that it’s highly suspect that several women would smear him as a sexual assaulter out of pure spite. We read his excuses of kinky sex and “consent” and his own victimhood and believe him. Now that more victims are coming to light – the number of women accusing him of abusive behaviour is now 9 – we have to stop making excuses for the abuser. There is obviously a pattern of abuse here! How many more victims need to pop up for people to stop plugging their ears?
In the beginning, his excuse of kinky sex is flimsy. Saying that his sex life is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” only proves his idea of consent is messed up. 50 Shades thinks it’s normal for a Dom to do whatever they want with you as long as you give a little consent in the beginning. You need to consent to everything. Saying yes to spanking doesn’t mean choking is on the table. Ghomeshi brushing aside these women’s complaints of being punched in the face, smothered, and choked is not how a person into BDSM should react. This is how an abuser acts. He didn’t care if they didn’t like it. He did what he wanted because it got him hard. And you know what? He probably wouldn’t feel bad about it if it didn’t hurt his career.
This makes him an asshole. Yes, a good radio host, but ALSO an undeniable asshole. He needs to be charged, he needs to be in the news, and he deserves to be fired from his job. We need to stop letting our idols get away with things. If we don’t, we send the message that this behaviour is totally acceptable.
Jian isn’t the only idol whose horrible actions were willfully forgotten. Bill Cosby is known as the sweet zippity-bippity puddin’-pop lovin’ comedian, instead of a serial-rapist. Mark Wahlberg (Marky-Mark) is the well-known actor and Calvin Klein tighty-whitey wearer, instead of the man who committed a hate crime against a Vietnamese man by gouging his eye with meathook. Michael Fassbender is a talented actor with distracting genitals, instead of that guy who brutally abused his girlfriend. John Lennon is a legendary musician and peace-maker, instead of a child-abandoning wife-beater. I could make dozens of articles listing similar stories.
You can love an artist for their work, but you shouldn’t ignore their crimes. A talented asshole is still an asshole.