Green Party leader Elizabeth May defended fired CBC radio show host Jian Ghomeshi in a series of posts on Twitter, after the disgraced host of “Q” posted details of his private sex life including physical and sexual violence toward women in the forms of “rough sex” and “BDSM,” an acronym for bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism during sex.
Sadism is defined as deriving sexual gratification from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.
“I think Jian is wonderful. Likely TMI [too much information] for an old fogey like me, but his private life is none of our beeswax,” May tweeted on Sunday evening, less than two hours after Ghomeshi posted his message on Facebook about being fired in which he admitted to “all kinds of unsavoury aggressive acts in the bedroom” that he says were consensual.
When Twitter users heckled May for supporting someone admitting to sexual violence, she tweeted late Sunday evening: “Is there any allegation of violence? Not that I've seen.”
May continued to defend Ghomeshi despite the Toronto Star publishing online that same evening a report on Ghomeshi revealing a number of women alleging that the CBC host had verbally and physically abused them.
“I have known Jian and something at work here doesn't make sense. Innocent until proven guilty,” she tweeted.
May only backpedaled the following day after receiving a torrent of strong public condemnation over her series of tweets.
“Is sad that @ElizabethMay's empathy lies with her 'wonderful' friend Jian, not the women whom he is alleged to have assaulted,” tweeted one.
“This is a disgusting thing to say,” tweeted another.
In a letter published on the Green Party’s website Monday, May apologized for defending Ghomeshi, saying she had issued the tweets prior to reading the bombshell Toronto Star report. While May’s first tweet was issued prior to the release of the Toronto Star report, subsequent tweets defending Ghomeshi continued into Monday, hours after Twitter users let May know of the report’s release.
While May’s apology has all the right components, including a statement that “violent attacks on women are not acceptable” and “consent can never be given to physical attacks,” she never mentions the fact that she tweeted support for Ghomeshi regardless of the fact that he himself admitted to using women sadistically during sex.
Toronto legal expert Brenda Cossman has argued in a Globe and Mail piece that no one is allowed to inflict violence on others, whether there is consent or not.
“When it comes to BDSM – or at least its more intense versions – the law doesn’t actually care about consent. The Supreme Court has said that a person cannot consent to assault. While the cases have typically arisen in the context of bar room brawls or hockey violence, other courts have applied the same reasoning to the sexual context. So, if a sexual activity causes bodily harm, a person cannot consent to it,” she wrote.
Cossman went on to apply her analysis to what Ghomeshi admitted to in his Facebook post.
“So, let's assume for a moment that Mr. Ghomeshi’s side of the story is true (no, I am not saying that the women are lying – this is just a thought experiment). Let’s say he engaged in rough sex, very rough sex with consenting partners. According to the law, if it was rough enough to cause bodily harm, then he has still committed assault, regardless of consent. If he did hit, punch, bite or choke them – even if it was consensual – the law would very likely say that he committed assault.”
May later went on to tell reporters that the recent Parliament shootings left her feeling “emotional,” suggesting that the events of last week clouded her judgment when she defended Ghomeshi.
Pro-life activist Jonathon Van Maren said Ghomeshi’s BDSM actions and his defense of them indicates a cultural sickness regarding sex.
“We can see just how far our delusional sexual culture has gone when a number of women claim that they have had sexual violence inflicted on them by a celebrity, and that man’s defence is not that he didn’t engage in sexual violence, but that the women consented to it,” he wrote in a piece for LifeSiteNews.
Ghomeshi has sued the CBC for $55 million for defamation and breach of confidence.