Sound Advice for PhD Students of Ghomeshi-ism

Jian Ghomeshi(Note: Jian Ghomeshi was the host of a popular CBC radio program who was recently fired for “inappropriate” behaviour in the workplace. He is facing criminal charges for sexual assault.)

1. Consider Jian Ghomeshi as Exhibit A for the celebrity culture in which we live.

2. Ask yourself whether the reasons for his success were the very reasons for his downfall.

3. Examine the differences between his behaviour and that of other celebrity hosts, past and present.

4. Analyze the reasons why, over the years, CBC management has failed to respond to the many clearly stated complaints about him.

5. Give your views on the question whether the CBC, and other cultural institutions, can take effective steps to prevent the rise of future Ghomeshis without inhibiting creativity, i.e., without imposing stifling bureaucracy.

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4 responses to “Sound Advice for PhD Students of Ghomeshi-ism

  1. David Schatzky

    To manage very difficult creative people without a bureaucracy requires secure, grounded, humane and sane managers who have a capacity to understand how creative personalities function, and who can set appropriate boundaries in a nurturing, supportive environment. By building a trusting relationship between the ‘star’ and the manager(s) there can be creativity without destruction. A bureaucratic instead of a personal response to creative people can only be counterproductive, and force the
    miscreant(s) to go underground and escape being managed.

    • David, if your point is that an institution needs to retain good managers and then permit/encourage them to manage, I completely agree. But if the argument is (as is somewhat implied) that it’s OK to cut extra slack for difficult creative people (“stars”) in matters of workplace sexual misconduct and bullying, then I respectfully beg to differ.

  2. Disgusted and appalled by the behaviour that has come to light. However, see no grounds to ask the question in point 2. Being talented, articulate, extroverted, proud with an ego do not lead the vast majority of that subset of the population to the abuse alleged by so many. Point 3 implies that celebrity hosts behave similarly. Really? Yes, CBC needs to do better in the future, but can it really be expected to “prevent” the “rise” of such abusers any more than any other institution, like Parliament. All institutions can and should be expected to have a credible complaint process for all types of abuse in the workplace and refer criminal complaints to appropriate authorities. Was problem Ghomeshi’s public personality and ego? Or, the fact that initial complaints were not properly acted upon? Let us not demonize big egos, they can come with equally big hearts, just not, apparently, in this case.

  3. Of course no CBC manager should tolerate (or, for that matter, be guilty of) misbehaviour of any kind. But the CBC has peculiar trouble dealing with success, as I hope to illustrate when reminiscing about This Hour Has Seven Days (1964–1966) some time in the near future.