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Early 'MeToo' Villain Tells His Tale, Sparks Backlash

Former radio host Jian Ghomeshi says he was 'probably a sexual bully'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2018 3:45 PM CDT
Jian Ghomeshi arrives at a Toronto courthouse Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 for closing arguments in his sexual assault trial.   (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – "There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first." So writes Jian Ghomeshi in the New York Review of Books about the sexual-assault scandal that ruined his career, the Guardian reports. In a 3,500-word essay, the former Canadian radio personality veers between defensiveness, self-pity, and contrition as he chronicles his professional and financial collapse. More than 20 women made allegations of being choked, smothered, bitten, slapped, and punched by him, yet he doesn't apologize: "Even as I feel deep remorse ... I cannot confess to the accusations that are inaccurate," writes the former CBC radio host, who was acquitted in 2016 after apologizing to one woman to avoid another trial. "What I do confess is that I was emotionally thoughtless in the way I treated those I dated and tried to date."

That confession—along with his concession that he was "probably a sexual bully"—is ringing hollow for many readers, the Toronto Star reports. "Accountability for me would be reaching out to the people that you harmed and being accountable to them," says Farrah Khan, an expert on sexual violence. New York-based writer Moira Donegan tweets that "being a man credibly accused of sexual harassment or assault is one of the more surefire ways for an aspiring writer to find magazine work." Review editor Ian Burama then defended his publication's decision to run an article by the widely reviled #MeToo figure: "I am not going to defend his behavior, and I don’t know if what all these women are saying is true," the 66-year-old tells Slate. "Perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t." Among the many reactions is a tweet from literary critic Parul Sehgal that starts simply: "My god." (Read more sexual assault stories.)

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