Watch above: More women have come forward claiming former “Q” host Jian Ghomeshi abused them. But Ghomeshi isn’t changing his story. Eric Sorensen reports.
TORONTO – Jian Ghomeshi has broken his silence about allegations from several women that he behaved abusively toward them.
Ghomeshi issued a statement Thursday morning on his Facebook page saying he intends “to meet these allegations directly.”
The former CBC Radio host said he doesn’t plan to discuss “this matter” with the media.
On Wednesday, Canadian television actor Lucy DeCoutere came forward with allegations that the former CBC radio host was physically violent with her.
DeCoutere told CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti Thursday “there was no build up” to his actions.
“He took me by the throat, pressed me against the wall and choked me,” DeCoutere said. “He did slap me across the face a couple of times.”
The actress said she felt confused about what was going on and had never been “exposed to that sort of thing before.”
“It wasn’t a kink thing, I know that because it didn’t feel sexy,” she said.
DeCoutere, who plays Lucy on the popular television series Trailer Park Boys alleges that during an incident in 2003 Ghomeshi choked her and slapped her hard multiple times without her consent, according to an investigation by the Toronto Star.
“He did not ask if I was into it. It was never a question. It was shocking to me. The men I have spent time with are loving people,” DeCoutere told The Star.
A spokeswoman for Ghomeshi did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Global News.
DeCoutere is the first woman to go public with her allegations against Ghomeshi. The Star reports they have now interviewed eight women who claim the radio host was violent or abusive with them.
The CBC announced Thursday afternoon it is hiring a third-party company to conduct an investigation in the wake of allegations against Ghomeshi.
A memo from the CBC’s Heather Conway says the move follows “accounts of impropriety towards (CBC) employees.”
The memo says the public broadcaster is in the process of selecting a company to “conduct a rigorous, independent investigation beyond what’s already been done.”
Ghomeshi, former host and co-creator of the CBC radio show Q, was fired Sunday by the public broadcaster after it received “information” that “precludes” it from continuing to employ the 47-year-old host. Ghomeshi countered with a $55-million lawsuit against the CBC for misuse of “personal and confidential information provided to it in confidence.”
In an interview with Global News, well known employment lawyer Howard Levitt said Gomeshi doesn’t have much of a case.
“It’s a joke really; he’s entitled to zero because he cannot sue civilly. He’s a member of a union,” Levitt told Global News. “Unionized employees…cannot sue for wrongful dismissal, they can’t sue for constructive dismissal, they can’t sue for anything arising over the employment relationship. All they can do is go to an arbitrator and hope to get their job back and some back-pay.”
Ghomeshi has defended himself in a lengthy Facebook post saying that he only engages in sexual practices that are “mutually agreed upon” and “consensual.”
Coutere’s account comes just hours after CBC’s As It Happens aired an interview with an unnamed woman, also reportedly interviewed by The Star, who claimed Ghomeshi punched her in the head “repeatedly,” while on a date ten years ago.
As It Happens staff said they contacted Ghomeshi for comment but did not get a response by the time the interview went to air.
The allegations follow a Monday report from the Toronto Star, which interviewed three unnamed women who claimed Ghomeshi had choked, punched and slapped them during sex. A fourth woman, also unnamed, said she was a former CBC employee and claimed Ghomeshi groped her and said “I want to hate f— you.”
During the CBC Radio interview the woman told host Carol Off she met Ghomeshi “more than a decade ago” at a media Christmas party.
“At the party, he was smitten with me and I was taken by his charm. He is a very charismatic man no question,” she said.
They met a second time during a taping of his show before eventually going to a bar before she said he drove her to her car.
“We chatted in the car, and he was getting flirty. So in the car, you know, he was looking like he wanted to do a little more and then he asked me if I would undo my buttons. And I said, “No, because I don’t know you.”
The woman claims things escalated when “he reached over and grabbed my hair very hard and pulled my head back.”
She then told Off that despite the encounter which “caught her off guard” she agreed to meet Ghomeshi for a another date that ended back at his home.
“We were flirty, but in that flirting he grabbed my hair again, but even harder, and threw me in front of him on the ground and started closed-fist pounding me in the head. Repeatedly. Until my ears were ringing,” she said. “And I started to cry … I wasn’t expecting it.”
The CBC spoke to a friend of the woman’s, a nurse, who corroborated her story and that she arrived at her house very distraught after the incident.
The woman told As It Happens that Ghomeshi never asked for her consent.
“There was no ‘we’re going to engage in this type of play.’ We were fully clothed. We weren’t having sex. We weren’t at that point in our time together, our relationship,” she said.
Ghomeshi’s lawyers have previously denied all allegations made by The Star.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and Toronto police have said none of the women had filed a formal complaint.
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