Media persona versus reality


Neville Hardman

Neville Hardman

When interacting with many forms of media, people can have two personalities. There is the way they act in front of the media — a disguise to impress an audience or gain followers — and how they really act when they’re off camera and their social media platforms. 

Jian Ghomeshi, a manager in the music industry, is proof of this. Canadian singer-songwriter Lights recently parted ways with her manager of 12 years, due to allegations made against him.

Ghomeshi was accused of violence, sexual abuse and harassment by eight women.

The Toronto Star reported only one woman decided to reveal herself, the other seven not wanting their claims to be matched to a name. They feared further harassment and putting their careers in danger for bringing their stories into the light.

One woman claimed he shoved her against a wall before choking her and then slapping her three times; another woman alleged that he pulled her hair until she was on the ground and punched her three times in the head, according to the Toronto Star.

To the public, Ghomeshi was just the host of Q, a radio show from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), but he took off the mask off the air. His alleged aggression and disrespect for boundaries or consent toward women are personal qualities that show when he’s not acting in front of an audience.

It’s not proven that Ghomeshi did commit these actions, but eight is a large number of people claiming the same things about one person. It was enough evidence for Lights to cut the ties of a 12-year partnership and for CBC to fire him from the network in order to investigate deeper.

Ghomeshi’s past power abuse is just a recent example of someone higher up abusing their power and ignoring human values.

Kim Fowley’s tactics as the manager of The Runaways wasn’t clean, either.

“It was the abuse from Kim Fowley and our roadies that was so hard to take,” Cherie Currie, lead vocalist, said in an interview with The Guardian.

Fowley allegedly shot jars of peanut butter at the band in order to train the girls on how to deal with a rough audience.

Currie also said in the interview that management was cheating the band from the money they earned playing shows. For a sold-out show, the band only received $20 dollars as a profit.

Fowley’s approach was not viewed negatively at the time because The Runaways received a lot of taunting for being an all-girl band in an industry dominated by men, but the manager probably could have adopted an alternative approach. Instead, used rock ‘n’ roll as an excuse to treat the girls horribly and give harsh reality checks.

Today we are able to recognize something wrong and attempt to do something about it. Ghomeshi was fired not only from his radio job but as a manager as well. Stories that might have been ignored in the past because of a convincing media persona are being taken seriously, an accomplishment someone should drink to.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].