Years ago, in the house of a queer friend from Atlantic Canada, I joked about Jian Ghomeshi and how he rudely and aggressively hit on her once. She laughed, I laughed, we laughed. She was queer – I thought he was queer. It was comedic gold. I didn’t think anything about it, and I sort of thought it was one of those “flaws” that celebrities have. I didn’t think twice about it.
I lived in Toronto. Used to joke with female friends about going and seeing George Strombolopolous’ show, because he was kind of funny. And I was from Vancouver, so seeing something at the CBC would be cool. I think I even invited my partner there once. Occasionally, I’d hear comments about Jian and his creepiness, and my brain would connect this back to my friend, and her story. But I didn’t think twice about it.
I’ll admit I used to really enjoy Jian’s “well, hello there” that he started the show with. I’m a white man; I have lots of privilege – I didn’t think about how that was pretty much an embodiment of his creepiness. His “Happy Tuesday.” I didn’t think twice about it.
Now I read that he would beat women, and then the next day text them – “Happy Thursday.” The idea of his voice makes me sick to my stomach.
I only wish I had thought twice about these interconnected rumours, these stories I’d heard from Newfoundland and from Toronto and Vancouver. But I didn’t, because privilege blinds.
Thank you to the women who have stepped forward and shared their stories. And I think twice about the courage and strength that it takes to do that. And that Ghomeshi is but one case of hundreds of thousands and millions that happen and continue to happen.
We all need to think twice. Especially those of us blinded by privilege.