The New York Review of Books’ Oct. 11 issue, featuring the theme “The Fall of Men” and a piece by Jian Ghomeshi, made the rounds on social media on Friday, with many people ― particularly women ― saying that the publication offered a platform for the disgraced writer.
The former CBC Radio host had been charged with seven counts of sexual assault and one count of choking. Two charges were dropped. He was acquitted in March 2016 of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking involving three complainants and signed a peace bond on a separate sexual assault charge, which did not include an admission of guilt.
Despite the bond, the complainant on that charge later issued a statement to the media that maintained Ghomeshi was guilty of sexual assault and that “a trial would have maintained his lie, the lie that he was not guilty, and would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I am currently trying to stop.”
For the magazine, Ghomeshi penned an essay, “Reflections From a Hashtag,” in which he says he has “deep remorse” for how he treated some people in his life. The piece includes his meditations on what he did and didn’t do, his suicidal thoughts and his life, going from high-profile media player to the recipient of “enough humiliation for a lifetime.”
A representative for The New York Review of Books did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I’ve become a hashtag. One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer. There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first,” he writes.
Ghomeshi goes on to say that he “equivocated about writing this essay for many months,” initially because of legal reasons and then because “it’s been about gaining some certainty about what I would want to say.” In several paragraphs he attempts to unpack what redemption means in the age of Me Too ― a question no one has been able to clearly answer.
“In a maelstrom of confusion, humiliation, resistance, and conflicting feedback from those around you, how much can anyone really inhabit “I’m sorry”?” he writes.
The piece and the “fall of men” theme started a firestorm on social media, with many women offering incredulous missives on Twitter.
Ghomeshi’s return to the public writing sphere comes on the heels of the re-emergence of many men accused of sexual misconduct amid Me Too.
On Thursday, John Hockenberry, a former host of “The Takeaway” on public radio, had an editorial published in Harper’s, much to the dismay of many readers. He was accused of harassing several female colleagues at New York’s WNYC and subsequently left last December. Last month disgraced comedian Louis C.K. performed at two comedy clubs in New York ― with no mention of the sexual misconduct he was accused of a mere nine months ago.