Last week, Ian Buruma resigned his post as editor at The New York Review of Books amid controversy over an essay that he commissioned and ran. That essay, “Reflections From a Hashtag,” was a first-person account by the former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation host Jian Ghomeshi of being fired amid allegations of violent sexual misconduct and then acquitted of most of the criminal charges by a Canadian court.
It is unusual for a well-regarded editor at a prestigious intellectual journal to lose a leadership position over just one article. What are the larger implications for American journalism?
- What exactly prompted the resignation?
- When should it be verboten to publish men accused of sexual misconduct?
- How will the resignation affect mainstream-media publications and the work they decide to commission and publish going forward?
In the controversial NYRB essay, Ghomeshi began with a brief account of the allegations against him. He was permitted to offer this one:
In October 2014, I was fired from my job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation after allegations circulated online that I’d been abusive with an ex-girlfriend during sex. In the aftermath of my firing, and amid a media storm, several more people accused me of sexual misconduct. I faced criminal charges including hair-pulling, hitting during intimacy in one instance, and—the most serious allegation—nonconsensual choking while making out with a woman on a date in 2002. I pleaded not guilty. Several months later, after a very public trial, I was cleared on all counts. One of the charges was separated and later withdrawn with a peace bond—a pledge to be on good behavior for a year. There was no criminal trial.
Does that passage meet adequate standards of accuracy?