New York Review of Books editor Ian Buruma out after Jian Ghomeshi article
Ian Buruma, an editor with the New York Review of Books, is no longer with the magazine following the publication of a controversial article by disgraced CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi who was acquitted on sexual assault charges in 2016.
“I can confirm that Ian Buruma is no longer the editor of The New York Review of Books,” Nicholas During, a spokesperson for the magazine, wrote in an email.
A second spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, declined to say whether he was fired or resigned following the publication of the Ghomeshi piece which sparked an international outcry.
In a more than 3,400-word essay titled “Reflections from a Hashtag,” published online Friday by The New York Review of Books, Ghomeshi revealed that he had suicidal thoughts following numerous allegations of sexual assault and described his fall from a national radio host to a self-described “outcast.”
“I’ve become a hashtag. One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer,” he writes. “There are lots of guys more hated than me now. But I was the guy everyone hated first.”
CBC fired Ghomsehi from his job as host of the popular arts show Q in 2014 after he revealed video to executives showing bruising, apparently caused by a cracked rib, on a woman whom he had dated, according to a Toronto Star report. Ghomeshi responded with an infamous Facebook message insisting the encounter had been consensual.
Ghomeshi was later acquitted in March 2016 on four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking involving three complainants following a high-profile trial. In May 2016, a further charge of sexual assault against him was withdrawn after Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and apologized to his former CBC colleague Kathryn Borel for “sexually inappropriate behaviour.”
WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi accuser speaks out
In the article, Ghomeshi publicly addressed the trial for the first time writing that he cannot confess to accusations he maintains are “inaccurate,” but admits he should have been more “respectful and responsive” with the women in his life.
“I leveraged my influence and status to try to entice women and lead them on when they were interested,” he writes.
The article led to an immediate backlash from those who questioned why he was given a high-profile platform to detail his life following the trial and that many said whitewashed the accusations against him by more than 20 women. Their allegations detailed various forms of sexual misconduct, including punching and choking.
In an interview with Slate magazine, Buruma created further controversy as he appeared to have little knowledge of the allegations against Ghomeshi and defended the piece.
“The exact nature of his behaviour — how much consent was involved — I have no idea, nor is it really my concern. My concern is what happens to somebody who has not been found guilty in any criminal sense but who perhaps deserves social opprobrium, but how long should that last, what form it should take, etc.” Buruma said.
Buruma said that while “not everyone agreed,” once the decision was made the staff “stuck together.”
“I’m no judge of the rights and wrongs of every allegation. How can I be? All I know is that in a court of law he was acquitted, and there is no proof he committed a crime,” he said.
Buruma did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Global News.
Linda Redgrave, one of three complainants in Ghomeshi’s trial, told the Canadian Press that the essay read as an attempt to gain sympathy while reentering the public eye.
“He expressed deep remorse, but that was not the focal point of the essay. I felt continuously directed to delve into sympathy,” she said. “He speaks of not listening to women, which left him deaf to things he should be hearing. That statement spoke volumes to myself and I can imagine stirred up many feelings in other women reading it. Too little too late.”
*With a file from the Canadian Press
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