More women have come forward accusing fired CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi of violence and sexual assault, including Canadian television actress Lucy DeCoutere.
DeCoutere, best-known for playing Lucy on the Canadian series “Trailer Park Boys,” told the Toronto Star Ghomeshi attacked her in 2003. She told the newspaper he “without warning or consent, choked her to the point she could not breathe and then slapped her hard three times on the side of her head.”
“He did not ask if I was into it,” DeCoutere told the Star. “It was never a question. It was shocking to me. The men I have spent time with are loving people.”
Ghomeshi has maintained his innocence, and published a Facebook post Sunday night saying he engages in BDSM, but has always obtained consent and played safely.
The newspaper published allegations of four women Monday, including a former CBC colleague who accused Ghomeshi of sexual harassment. Another four, including DeCoutere, came forward to give their accounts in a report published Wednesday.
In multiple stories, women allege Ghomeshi would throw them on the ground and beat them on the head. In one woman’s account, the Star claimed, “he demanded that she kneel, then hit her repeatedly about the head while she stared up in shock. She asked him about bruising, and he laughed and replied that he knew how to hit her so there wouldn’t be any.”
One of the women also gave an anonymous on-air interview to the CBC show “As It Happens” in which she discussed her alleged experiences. Another woman is scheduled to speak with the CBC on-air today.
The woman who spoke to “As It Happens” told host Carol Off she met Ghomeshi at a Christmas party after exiting a serious relationship. “I was taken by his charm,” she said. “He’s a very charismatic man, no question.”
For their first date, she said, Ghomeshi asked her to come to a taping of his show. Afterward, they went to a pub and, when they left, he offered to drive her to her car. It was in the car, she said, that he became “flirty” and then violent.
“He asked me if I would undo my buttons, and I said ‘No, because I don’t know you,’ and he reached over and grabbed my hair, very hard and pulled my head back,” she said. “It caught me off guard.” Stunned, the woman left, but she saw him a few more times when he invited her to CBC tapings. “I hadn’t dated for awhile and I did like him. All the time I spent with him up until that point was great,” she explained. “I thought maybe he’s just a little too rough and I can sort it out.”
When they went out again, the woman accompanied Ghomeshi back to his house where, she said, “He grabbed my hair again, but even harder, threw me in front of him on the ground, and started closed-fist pounding me in the head, repeatedly, until my ears were ringing and I started to cry.”
Off asked if she struggled.
“No,” she said. “I was in shock, and when you get hit in the head, everything rings and it’s hard to do anything. There was no conversation about anything. He didn’t ask me if I liked to be hit. I wasn’t expecting it, and he hit me repeatedly.”
When the alleged assault was over, Ghomeshi told her to leave. “I didn’t say much at all. I got in a cab and cried all the way to my friend’s place,” she said. “I didn’t even go home. I was a mess.”
The woman explained why she didn’t press charges.
“Because it was too difficult to prove,” she said. “It’s embarrassing. In the moment … I was so distraught, all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner. I wasn’t expecting to out with this man who was seemingly charming and nice.”
She finally came forward because of the initial report in the Star.
“When this came to light a few days ago, it gave me permission to speak,” she said. “I thought, ‘maybe someone will listen to me now.’ I don’t think if I had said anything back then that anyone would care.”
The Star also reported two of the women who came forward told the paper of a stuffed bear Ghomeshi kept in his house called “Big Ears Teddy.” They alleged before Ghomeshi slapped or choked them, he would turn the bear away, saying Big Ears Teddy shouldn’t see this.
In April, a woman started tweeting from the Twitter account @bigearsteddy, alleging the radio host lured her to his house under false pretenses. “Bruises don’t lie,” she wrote. She alleged the host keeps a library of videos and photos of women he’s punched, and said she managed to surreptitiously record Ghomeshi punching her. According to Huffington Post Canada, Ghomeshi gave a talk in Stratford, Ontario, in July during which he talked about a childhood bear named Big Ears. He told the crowd he bought a replacement as treatment for his anxiety disorder.
So far, DeCoutere is the only woman to come forward without the veil of anonymity, which both the CBC and the Star say they granted because the women expressed fear of professional retaliation in addition to harassment and abuse from Ghomeshi supporters.
Almost immediately after DeCoutere’s story was published, she was attacked and called a liar, prompting the creation of the #ibelievelucy hashtag.
When I say #ibelievelucy I also mean that I believe the other 7 women, and all those women who have not come forward & never will.
— LKid (@LKid) October 30, 2014
You are a very brave woman @lucycoutere and I am sorry for the aloneness and all else you suffered. You have made big change #IBelieveLucy
— Heather GHOULd (@heathr) October 30, 2014