Former CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi has surfaced with an article in the well-respected literary publication The New York Review of Books.
In an article titled "Reflections from a Hashtag", the one-time Canadian media darling talks about his life after a series of sexual assault allegations, and subsequent trial, ended his career.
Ghomeshi was acquitted in March 2016 of four counts of sexual assault from three complainants.
He subsequently apologized to a fourth complainant, signing a peace bond that led to the withdrawl of another count of sexual assault.
When allegations first started surfacing, he was fired from the CBC in October of 2014.
The allegations and trial sparked huge debate in Canada on the subject of consent, and the responsibilities of celebrities in positions of power. That debate has been ramped up over the past year by the #MeToo movement, which has its roots in a series of explosive allegations against high-profile American celebrities like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and Donald Trump.
In his essay, Ghomeshi talks about going from one of the most popular personalities on CBC to someone that people go out of their way to avoid.
"You’re not just feeling sorry for yourself," he writes. "You’re also feeling sorry for everyone around you—sometimes even the strangers. You can see the anxiety in their faces as they stammer out banalities, studiously avoiding the subject of career (or lack thereof), making vague gestures of encouragement that trail off into silence."
A former member of Canadian band Moxy Früvous, he starts the article at a New York karaoke bar, where a random stranger comes up to him and says "Your name is Jian? Ha! Hey, you know who ruined that name for you?”
He goes on to note female friends joke that he should be named one of the founders of #MeToo.
"My acquittal left my accusers and many observers profoundly unhappy" Ghomeshi writes. "There was a sentiment among them that, regardless of any legal exoneration, I was almost certainly a world-class prick, probably a sexual bully, and that I needed to be held to account beyond simply losing my career and reputation. Since then, I’ve become a hashtag. One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer."
To read the entire article, which is actually captivating for the spin it puts on things ("Chalk up one more human being who no longer thinks I’m a creep" and "There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first."), click here.More