Jian Ghomeshi sex assault charge dropped, apologizes for 'sexually inappropriate' conduct

Former CBC Radio broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi apologized in open court today for his “sexually inappropriate” conduct against a former CBC employee, Kathryn Borel.

Borel accused Ghomeshi of sexual assault while working with him on his Q radio program. Those charges have been dropped by the Crown after Ghomeshi signed a year-long peace bond on Wednesday. A peace bond is not an admission of guilt.

Back in March, Ghomeshi was acquitted of one charge of overcoming resistance by choking and four counts of sexual assault.

Outside of court, Borel read a statement about her views on the criminal case. Here it is in full:

Hi, everyone, thanks for coming out and listening.

My name is Kathryn Borel. In December of 2014, I pressed sexual assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi.

As you know, Mr. Ghomeshi initially denied all the charges that were brought against him. But today, as you just heard, Jian Ghomeshi admitted wrongdoing and apologized to me. It’s unfortunate but maybe not surprising that he chose not say much about what exactly he was apologizing for.

I’m going to provide those details for you now.

Everyday, over the course of a three-year-period, Mr. Ghomeshi made it clear to me that he could do what he wanted to me and my body. He made it clear that he could humiliate me repeatedly and walk away with impunity. There are at least three documented incidents of physical touching. This includes the one charge he just apologized for, when he came up behind me while I was standing near my desk, put his hands on my hips and rammed his pelvis against my backside, over and over, simulating sexual intercourse.

Throughout the time that I worked with him, he framed his actions with near-daily verbal assaults and emotional manipulations. His inferences felt like threats, or declarations like I deserved to have happening to me what was happening to me. It became very difficult for me to trust what I was feeling. Up until recently, I didn’t even internalize that what he was doing to my body was sexual assault because, when I went to the CBC for help, what I received in return was a directive that yes, he could do this, and yes, it was my job to let him.

The relentless message to me from my celebrity boss and the national institution he worked for were that his whims were more important than my humanity or my dignity. So I came to accept this. I came to believe that it was his right.

But when I spoke to the police at the end of 2014, and detailed my experiences with Mr. Ghomeshi, they confirmed to me that what he did to me was, in fact, sexual assault. That’s what Jian Ghomeshi just apologized for. The crime of sexual assault.

This is the story of a man who had immense power over me and my livelihood admitting that he chronically abused his power and violated me in ways that violated the law. Mr. Ghomeshi’s constant workplace abuse of me and my many colleagues and friends has since been corroborated by multiple sources, a CBC fifth estate documentary and a third-party investigation.

In a perfect world, people who commit sexual assault would be convicted for their crimes. Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of having done the things that I have outlined today. So when it was presented to me the defence would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego a trial. It seemed to be the clearest path to the truth. A trial would have maintained his lie; the lie that he was not guilty. And it would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I am currently trying to stop.

Jian Ghomesi has apologized, but only to me.

There are 20 other women who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about this violent behaviour. Women who have come forward to say that he punched and choked and smothered and silenced them. There is no way that I would have come forward if it wasn’t for their courage.

And yet Mr. Ghomeshi hasn’t met any of their allegations head-on, as he vowed to do in his Facebook post of 2014. He hasn’t taken the stand on any charge. All he has said about his other accusers is that they are all lying, and that he is not guilty.

And remember, that’s what he said about me.

I think we all want this to be over, but it won’t be until he admits to everything that he has done.

The CBC issued a statement today, apologizing for Borel’s experience.

“As we said in April of 2015, the incidents that came to our attention as it relates to Mr. Ghomeshi’s conduct in our workplace were simply unacceptable,” said Chuck Thompson, CBC’s head of public affairs. “We apologized then and we do again today.”

Here is the full text of Ghomeshi’s apology:

I want to apologize to Ms. Borel for my behaviour towards her in the workplace. In the last 18 months, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on this incident and the difficulties I caused Ms. Borel, and I have had to come to terms with my own deep regret and embarrassment.

I enjoyed a position of privilege in my job at the CBC as the host of a program I loved. I was a person in a position of authority and leadership, and I did not show the respect that I should have to Ms. Borel. I did not always lead by example and I failed to understand and truly appreciate the impact of my conduct on Ms. Borel’s work environment. That conduct in the workplace was sexually inappropriate. I realize that there is no way for me to know the full impact on her personally and professionally.

I now recognize that I cross boundaries inappropriately. A workplace should not have any sexualized tone. I failed to understand how my works and actions would put a coworker who was younger than me, and in a junior position to mine, in an uncomfortable place. I did not appreciate the damage that I caused, and I recognize that no workplace friendship or creative environment excuses this sort of behaviour, especially when there is a power imbalance as there was with Ms. Borel. This incident was thoughtless and I was insensitive to her perspective and how demeaning my conduct was towards her. I understand this now. This is a challenging business to be in and I did not need to make it more difficult for Ms. Borel. The past 18 months have been an education for me. I have reflected deeply and have been working hard to address the attitudes that led me, at the time, to think that this was acceptable.

I apologize to my family for letting them down and in particular for the impact that all of this has had on my dear mother and my sister. I apologize for the burden my actions have placed on those dear friends who have stood by me throughout this difficult time. I regret my behaviour at work with all of my heart and I hope that I can find forgiveness from those for whom my actions took such a toll.

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