Yesterday Jian Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and apologized to Kathryn Borel. The Crown dropped the sexual assault charge.
Here’s Mr Ghomeshi’s apology and Ms Borel’s reply.
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 crossed boundaries inappropriately. A workplace should not have any sexualized tone. I failed to understand how my words and actions would put a co-worker 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 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.
Kathryn Borel’s reply
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 he chose not to say much about what exactly he was apologizing for. I’m going to provide those details for you now.
Every day 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 these 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 we 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 what he did to me was, in fact, sexual assault. And 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 violate the law.
Mr. Ghomeshi’s constant workplace abuse of me and my many colleagues and friends has since been corroborated by multiple source, 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’ve outlined today. So when it was presented to me that the defence would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego the trial. It seemed like 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 Ghomeshi has apologized, but only to me there are 20 other women who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about his 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 weren’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’re all lying and that he’s 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’s done.
He said/she said
Mr Ghomeshi delivered an apology that characterized grinding his pelvis into Ms Borel’s backside as “behavior” that caused “difficulties”. He was “thoughtless” and “insensitive” and failed to understand the impact of his “conduct” on a subordinate.
It’s an insipid apology but never mind, Ms Borel has been partially vindicated–after 18 months of denials (effectively calling her a liar) she managed to get Mr Ghomeshi to publicly admit to sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
It’s a small victory.