Exactly one month after a shocking Facebook post from former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi detailing his preference for rough, but consensual sex, and he’s now facing a series of criminal charges.
In that time, nine women have come forward telling similar stories of violent assaults. Three of them went to the police, leading to Wednesday’s unprecedented scene outside a Toronto court room.
The size of the crowd seemed more than Jian Ghomeshi anticipated. Larger than we’ve seen with Rob Ford or even Justin Bieber. At least a hundred people mobbing him and his lawyers. There were media and journalism students and interested members of the general public. Ghomeshi seemed a bit stunned, and he didn’t say a word.
47-year-old Jian Ghomeshi seemed haggard, standing beside his lawyer after he was released on $100,000 bail. He has to live with his mother and turn over his passport and come back to court on January 8th. His lawyer, Marie Hennen, said little before they made their way through a suffocating throng of media and bystanders: “Mr. Ghomeshi will be pleading not guilty. We will address these allegations fully and directly in a courtroom. It is not my practice to litigate my cases in the media. This one will be no different. We will say whatever we have to say, in a court of law.”
Ghomeshi rose to fame with his radio show “Q,” but was fired by the CBC on October 26th, a few days after showing executives emails, texts and video that he said proved his sexual activities were consensual.
Ghomeshi wrote a couple of Facebook messages in his own defense in October, but after several women came forward with accounts of assault and harassment, he went silent.
Wednesday morning, he turned himself into police when he was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking. A charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
That led to this CBC tweet: “We understand no charges involve staff or ex-staff of CBC won’t be commenting on charges.”
And actress Lucy Decoutere, who was the first accuser to identify herself, released this statement: “The past month has seen a major shift in the conversation about violence against women. it has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victim’s voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”
Also this week, Ghomeshi withdrew his $55 million lawsuit against the CBC and agreed to pay $18,000 in CBC legal fees. He does still plan to fight his firing, this time through a union grievance.
Additional video: Lisa Hepfner’s iPhone video of Ghomeshi leaving court after getting bail: