From stardom to infamy, Jian Ghomeshi faces high-profile trial

TORONTO -- As a certified celebrity, Jian Ghomeshi soared to dizzying heights of national and even international admiration before his career crashed and burned amid allegations that he used his stardom as a shield to hide his sexual predilections that police allege crossed from the kinky to the criminal.

See Full Article

On Monday, the courts will begin sorting out whether he engaged in consensual "rough sex," as Ghomeshi claims, or whether, as three women claim, he sexually assaulted them.

Whatever the verdict, expected several weeks down the road, it's an open question whether the former host of the CBC radio program "Q" will ever be able to recover from the barrage of bad publicity the allegations unleashed.

Those who know Ghomeshi best describe him as a complex character: thoughtful and considerate, a bit weird, possessed of an uncanny knack for connecting with people.

"I knew him to be a charming, if temperamental, narcissist who desperately wanted to be adored," Ghomeshi's friend, Leah McLaren, wrote last year in an article for Toronto Life.

Those who worked with him, according to an investigative report made public, described him as moody, often mean and disrespectful, and "creepy" toward female colleagues he worked with.

For years, however, nothing seemed to block the ever-brightening light that was Ghomeshi.

Born in England to Iranian parents before coming to the Toronto area at age 9, Ghomeshi, 48, would earn widespread accolades for a golden-voiced interview style that put his celebrity subjects at ease and elicited sensitive information.

He had initially found himself in the public spotlight as a singer-drummer with Moxy Fruvous, a modestly successful satirical folk-pop group, in the late 1980s. But in 2002, the stars began aligning for him when he shifted to broadcasting, becoming host of an arts-oriented program with Canada's public broadcaster.

Several more music-related CBC gigs followed until he had earned the street cred that allowed him in 2007 to launch his own live radio show called "Q." With its top-drawer guests succumbing to a hip Ghomeshi's soothing but persistent prodding, the program became the centrepiece of CBC Radio's lineup, with a devoted following that included many among younger Canadians.

A chat in which another Canadian icon, Leonard Cohen, discussed mortality, love and sex won plaudits. On another occasion, Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson reflected on his troubled life. Joni Mitchell discussed giving up a child with him. Neil Young, Jay Z, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand all faced off with him across the microphone. The invisible audience across the continent lapped it up.

When a petulant Billy Bob Thornton, an Oscar-winning actor-turned-musician, took umbrage at the questions and murmured his way through an interview in 2009 while complaining about Canadian audiences, Ghomeshi's star seemed to shine even more fiercely. The international attention the episode garnered would help pave the way for an increasingly successful "Q" foray into the vast American market in 2010.

Ghomeshi's award-winning star was burning brightly. Through it all, however, whispers about his sexual conduct with women were becoming louder.

McLaren called him incredibly thin-skinned.

"He used his insecurities as an excuse to be temperamental, petulant, even cruel," she wrote.

The accusatory whispers ultimately culminated in a roar of accusations and outrage in October 2014, when CBC fired him, saying it had seen "graphic evidence" that he had physically injured a woman. The ensuing scandal, which garnered international headlines and sparked a nationwide conversation about consent and sexual harassment, saw more than two dozen women allege physical or sexual assault at his hands. CBC itself came under fire for failing to stop what colleagues said was his abusive behaviour.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Iran's supreme leader says 'no talks with U.S. at any level'

    World News CBC News
    Iran's supreme leader announced on Tuesday that "there will be no talks with the U.S. at any level" — remarks apparently meant to end all speculation about a possible U.S.-Iran meeting between the two countries' presidents at the UN later this month. Source
  • Hidden asbestos: Hundreds of homes in Peterborough, Ont., suspected of containing toxic material from GE plant

    Canada News CBC News
    When Ernie Farris walked past his childhood home in Peterborough, Ont., this summer for the first time in years, he had an alarming thought. In the late 1940s, as a young teen, he had helped his father unload a truck full of fluffy, white scrap asbestos from the local General Electric factory, spreading it in the family's attic as cheap insulation. Source
  • Green leader gets stuck in the sands of World War II history

    Canada News CBC News
    Elizabeth May is an expert on climate change and the environment. She has a law degree from Dalhousie University. And for a time, she studied theology at St. Paul's University in Ottawa with an eye to becoming an Anglican priest. Source
  • New giant salamander species now the world's largest amphibian

    World News CBC News
    Scientists have discovered a new species of giant salamander and concluded that the largest amphibian ever recorded was a member of that species. For a long time, scientists thought all Chinese giant salamanders belonged to a single species, Andrias davidianus. Source
  • Is there a way out for Hong Kong? Not likely, as protesters become more inflamed

    World News CBC News
    After more than 100 days of protest, Hong Kong is one bitter place. Anger and resentment hang in the air and explode on the streets almost daily now. And not just outside the legislature and other symbols of a deeply unpopular government. Source
  • Bernier's in — and the federal election debates just got less predictable

    Canada News CBC News
    The stage is set for Maxime Bernier. His challenge now is to perform. The leader of the nascent People's Party of Canada (PPC) yesterday got his coveted invitation to take part in the two televised debates organized by the independent Leaders' Debate Commission. Source
  • Israelis vote in repeat election centred on Netanyahu

    World News CBC News
    Israelis began voting Tuesday in an unprecedented repeat election that will decide whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stays in power despite a looming indictment on corruption charges. Netanyahu, the longest serving leader in Israeli history, is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office, and fifth overall. Source
  • Police respond to reports of shooting at Calgary area mall

    Canada News CBC News
    Airdrie RCMP and Calgary police are on scene at CrossIron Mills mall after RCMP received reports of shots fired at the mall at approximately 7:11 p.m. One male has been injured and the suspect is still at large. Source
  • Taiwan says Solomon Islands switches recognition to China

    World News CTV News
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China on Monday, becoming the latest country to leave the dwindling Taiwanese camp. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry confirmed the move, saying the Solomon Islands Cabinet approved a resolution to recognize Beijing as the government of China. Source
  • White House orders two former aides to defy House subpoenas

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The White House has instructed two former aides to U.S. President Donald Trump not to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, saying Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter are "absolutely immune" from testifying at what the panel is calling its first impeachment hearing. Source