Today, Jian Ghomeshi was arrested on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance –choking. He pled non-guilty at his arraignment this afternoon. As well, CBC released a statement this morning stating that Ghomeshi withdrew his case against them.
Ghomeshi’s arrest was no surprise to anyone. The reaction on Twitter, however, was nothing short of astonishing. Upon news of his arrest, the Twitterverse flooded with tweets in support of the victims and the outcome of the CBC slander case, further exemplifying just how much this case has become immersed in social media.
The reaction is overwhelming with users tweeting things like “Is it wrong to be happy about Jian Ghomeshi surrendering to police? I sure hope not because IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME”, and “All we need is a conviction with Ghomeshi and maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally see some hope for other victims to face their attackers”.
The seriousness of these comments cannot be ignored. The fact that all of the support is overwhelmingly positive towards the victims and overwhelmingly negative towards Ghomeshi signals a change in how we support women who have been assaulted or sexually abused. In contrast to the Bill Cosby allegations, to which most people seem to be content with still attending his shows and supporting him, Ghomeshi’s social reputation is tarnished.
Maybe it’s because Ghomeshi is just a lot younger than Cosby, or maybe it’s because Ghomeshi hasn’t been as ingrained in our culture. What is certain is that Americans should take note of how Canadians are handling the Ghomeshi fall. The CBC’s total disengagement with the former television star as well as their collective support for the victims is in direct contrast to the way in which most people are treating the Bill Cosby situation.
Cosby is being slaughtered on social media by major news outlets, with multiple victims doing interviews coming out and expressing outrage at his actions. But, this is the amazing thing about social media, the collective doesn’t seem to care all that much. While there are tweets about the horrible things that Cosby did, his following doesn’t really seem to have taken that much of a hit. His professional career of course is finished, but many people still think of him as America’s dad. While major companies are distancing themselves from Cosby, he still had a sold out show in Florida days after the most recent allegation. Oh, and he also got a standing ovation.
So while Canadians are celebrating the Ghomeshi downfall as a triumph for women’s rights and the power of social media, Americans are doing the exact opposite. Both of these stories coming out around the same time signals one very major commonality though. With social media, it will be extremely difficult for events such as these to remain hidden.
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