Friday, November 14, 2014

Nasty Bit of Business

We have had a nasty bit of business here in Canada the last few weeks. One of the stars of CBC radio was fired for violence against women. It came as a complete shock to his loyal fans. No one wanted to believe that this mellow voiced, considerate interviewer could be capable of what he was being accused of. I didn't believe it at first either. But as these things go once there is more than one accuser the jig is up and the majority of people distance themselves. In some ways we all learned a good lesson. A "personality" does not automatically equate with character and integrity. There is much being written about this man and what he has allegedly done. My reason for bringing it up is connected in a small way.

I too listened faithfully to his broadcasts and even went to a live show of his radio programme. He "tricked" me as well although I accept some of the responsibility for believing the myth rather than keeping my distance from the beginning. I went on his twitter to follow what was coming up on the show and what else he might be sharing with all of us. One day I heard him interviewing an older actress. He did his usual good interview but towards the end I thought he slipped into silliness by saying he would date her.  He sounded childish and giddy. It seemed out of character and bit bizarre to me. I tweeted as much to him.
This is where, as I have written before, I assumed because he came into my car or my kitchen every week day morning that we knew each other. His response to my tweet was a bit silly too I thought and I responded somewhat sarcastically as I would to a friend. He came back with a sharp response telling me to remove myself from his twitter feed. I was startled and somewhat alarmed that I had so seriously offended this guy. 

My point is this. I was 63 years old at the time. I am a confident usually good natured person. I don't go out of my way to hurt people. I can hold my own if necessary. But I fell into the trap of thinking I had been rude and offensive and had over stepped boundaries. My eldest daughter checked what had been said by both of us and told me he was being arrogant and to ignore it. I accepted this thankfully from her but also a part of me thought she was just taking my side because I am her mother. (She doesn't always do this by the way. And she shouldn't.) 

What dismays me today is that I fell right into the trap of believing that it was my mistake and my rudeness that was the problem. Now I see his response was typical of a sexual aggressor who seeks to dominate and cannot be criticized for his "way" with women. Such a small thing but it brought home to me how difficult it must be for the women he preyed on to stand up and speak up for what happened to them. Their earlier silence is perfectly understandable. He was popular and famous. The guy on the radio was not the guy they were actually with. Did they think that they made a mistake in being with him in the first place, or that they did something to provoke the reaction? Did they lose faith in their own judgement?

I feel sad now about the time I wasted feeling embarrassed that I had upset this celebrity. I am sad I didn't have the confidence to tell him where he could put his twitter feed. 

I sincerely hope the women who have come forth stay strong in their own selves and stare down this depravity until it is stopped.


  1. It is hard isn't! We want people we admire to be the best of us, and we all seem to have this natural inclination to think that people with celebrity are somehow "more" special than we are, since they "made it" and have been given that stamp of approval by the public. Jian was always a little self-satisfied to me, but I did really like him and enjoyed that show a lot and hope it keeps on. It's funny, about 15 years ago Sydney and I had dinner with Stuart McLean - he was lovely, pure and simple. I am sure he has an ego, what with all the love, but he was kind and gracious and much more interested in talking to us than to talking about himself. But I think we are all a little wiser!

  2. Your twitter relationship with Jian is so interesting in light of his fall from grace. I am having a hard time separating the "radio personality" from what appears to be the real person. It has been devastating and I have not finished processing. I am just hours back from Las Vegas. The first thing I did was turn on CBC to lull my jet-lagged self into a comfortable sleep. Bob Johnson and Shelagh Rogers soothed my soul bombarded by the neon of Sin City. Oh Canada! Oh CBC Radio!

  3. He completely overreacted to you! Goes to show...