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New York Review of Books publishes responses to controversial Jian Ghomeshi essay

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A month after disgraced CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi wrote a reflection detailing his life since he was accused of sexual assault, the New York Review of Books has published 37 responses from readers reacting to it.

On Sept. 14, the magazine published an article by Ghomeshi in which he details his life after he was fired from the CBC and multiple allegations of sexual assault were made against him.

On Nov. 26, 2014 Ghomeshi was charged in four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance-choking. Three more charges were raised in January 2015. Following a high profile trial, he was acquitted of all charges in March 2016, with Ontario Court Justice William Horkins saying there were “inconsistencies” in the testimonies of the complainants. Another sexual assault charge, brought by a former CBC colleague in May 2016, was withdrawn after he signed a peace bond and apologized.

A Star investigation detailed allegations from 15 women.

Ghomeshi’s approximately 3,500 word article stops short of admitting to any kind of physical abuse and offers no apology.

“While Mr. Ghomeshi has a right to express his opinions, we acknowledge our failures in the presentation and editing of his story,” a note from the editorial staff said in the Oct. 25 issue.

“A more inclusive editorial discussion should have taken place about whether to publish the article, and the article should have made clear the serious nature and number of allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi.”

Many of the letters, which took up five pages in the issue, criticized the magazine’s decision to publish the article and for letting Ghomeshi’s claims go unchallenged.

One reader, Joanne O. of Vancouver, alleges she was “personally victimized” by Ghomeshi in 2013. She claims it took her 12 minutes to read the essay, and asked to be “allocate(d) the same amount of time to what I’m about to write to you.”

Joanne says the article prompted her to recall her past challenges after the alleged incident with Ghomeshi, including paying thousands of dollars for counselling, missing numerous work days, and a lingering sense of fear and frustration.

“The choice to publish Ghomeshi’s piece was also a choice to remind all of the women he has victimized that his story is worth more than ours,” she said. “Today, you tore through that scar, exposing my insides again and reminding me of my place in the world.”

Another reader, Linda Redgrave, was one of the complainants in Ghomeshi’s trial. She said that she was on a drive to see her mother when she heard the news about the essay. According to Redgrave, she feared that memories of the “nightmare” would come back to haunt her.

“While Jian was riding the train to Paris, I was riding the train to Ottawa,” Redgrave noted, “where I met with Status of Women Canada, a government organization that promotes gender equality, to discuss sexual assault education programs for lawyers and judges.”

She also accused Ghomeshi of being vain. “His reference to being called a “#MeToo pioneer” sounds self-congratulatory,” Redgrave wrote, “as does ‘I was the guy everyone hated first.’ This isn’t a contest. There is shame in holding these titles.”

Allegra Sloman of Burnaby, B.C. said the magazine’s position as a “trendsetter” has been jeopardized. “Your credibility’s shot. Hope it was worth it,” Sloman wrote.

One reader, Lester Bergquist of Vancouver, simply sent an excerpt of Redgrave’s testimony as the first witness in the trial. Her identity was protected under a publication ban, but she later came forward publicly.

Two of the letters made public by the review, praised Ghomeshi for writing the essay. Shirley Anne Wade-Linton of Courtenay, B.C., said it was “honest” and “reflective.”

“I have been thinking about you and now I have a little glimpse into your journey,” Wade-Linton said. “You have every right in the world to write an article. No one has to read it for goodness sakes if they don’t wish to.”

Jacqueline Vischer of Winchester, Massachusetts, wrote that she believes Ghomeshi was treated harshly since the accusations were first revealed and says the CBC should “offer (him) another chance.” She also detailed how she, as a professional woman, has had her own “fair share” of discrimination and attempted assaults.

“I was delighted when the #MeToo movement took off,” Vischer said. “But there is another side: the overreaction of rejected women seeking revenge, or desire for the limelight, or the naiveté of the man and his lack of questioning the toxic masculinity of the culture that raised him.”

Ilya Bañares is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @ilyaoverseas

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Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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