There’s a story in the National Post about a CBC executive producer who was willing to ignore complaints about Ghomeshi’s behaviour four years ago. The Ghomeshi scandal is twisting and turning to a new ugly shade of grey every day. The serial nature of his violence against women is at the very core of this scandal but this latest article touches on something that fosters his predatorial behaviour. Celebrity enablement.
Obviously, not every successful media/sports/entertainment celebrity has the kind of baggage that includes creepy teddy bears and violent fetishes, but these guys do get fawned over and enabled to the point where ANY behaviour is considered normal and recieves a pass. In this regard, the Ghomeshi story is going on as I write this.
I remember dealing with a brilliant, fast rising young comic at JFL. He was looking up women’s skirts in a stairwell and encouraging them to show him ‘something’. One woman looked embarrassed. Another one thought it was funny. She was consensual. It made the whole thing creepier.
There were some of smirky hanger-on types that rolled their eyes at me when I was clearly not a fan. (of the man, he was a wicked comic) The comic seemed to sense that I thought he was a child and decided it would be fun to ask me “if my wife’s p#$#y stank”. He got a lot giggles from the boys on that one.
What I witnessed in my mind was a very juvenile form of harassment and bullying from a spoiled comedy brat but it was being accepted as something comics do. “Yeah, he’s on the edge, but that’s why he’s great” was one explanation from an admirer.
Fuck that explanation. They do these things because they’re allowed to, not because they have to. I’ve seen and worked with great comedians and yes many of us have some pretty challenging mental plumbing, but we are miles from being monsters.
These people evolve into these things because of environments and people that tell them it’s okay, you’re great, no matter what you do. Anyone who says differently will be dealt with.
The young comedian had the potential to be great for many, many years. I watched him live and was impressed. Sadly, he passed away so we’ll never know how great he would have been or what kind of real man he would have become. Unfortunately, I have no doubt he would be told again and again by industry sycophants how great he was, even when he did shitty things to girls. If you can’t see that this may have been heading in the direction it was going, you’ve spent too much time in Bill Cosby’s Jello Tree.