|Birth Day:||June 9, 1967|
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He attended York University's theatre program before earning a degree in political science.
1982 received a mixed reception from critics. Canadian poet, novelist and TV writer Zoe Whittall called it a "funny, nostalgic and compelling read, especially for music nerds of a certain age," while Stephen Carlick criticized the book, saying that Ghomeshi's attempt to appeal to the varied audience that listens to his CBC Radio program Q made it "uneven and often tedious" to read, making the reader question who the book was for after the prologue, which Carlick referred to as "1982 for Dummies". Carlick also noted that "Ghomeshi is a nice guy ... inoffensive and genial", but the book, by "trying to appeal to everyone", is spread "too thin".
In 1983, Ghomeshi and friends Murray Foster, Tracy Jones, Reno Manfredi, and John Ruttle formed a band called Tall New Buildings. Tall New Buildings released two 12" EPs and played various gigs in and outside of Toronto before breaking up around 1988. Ghomeshi, Murray Foster and another bandmate, Mike Ford, then formed a band called The Chia Pets.
Ghomeshi attended York University beginning in 1985 in the theatre program (in his memoir 1982, he describes himself as a "theatre geek") and subsequently graduated with a BA in political science and a double minor in history and women's studies. According to a former York University student, in 1988 residence advisers at York warned a group of students that Ghomeshi had allegedly hit a couple of students. In 1989, Ghomeshi unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the student government at York. In 1990, he was elected president of the Council of the York Federation of Students with a record-breaking number of votes and subsequently renamed the federation the York Federation of Students. As president, Ghomeshi promised increased funding for the Women's Centre, supported increased safety measures for women on campus and co-founded a pro-choice network. Jim Hounslow alleged that in the 1990–91 school year, when Ghomeshi was president and Hounslow was communications coordinator for the York Federation of Students, Ghomeshi grabbed Hounslow's genitals through his jeans while the two were in an elevator.
In 1989, they were joined by Dave Matheson to form the politically satirical folk-pop band Moxy Früvous and together they recorded eight albums before going on permanent hiatus in 2001. Moxy Früvous was originally inspired by street-performing or busking bands and Ghomeshi and bandmates started out by playing on streets in Toronto. Ghomeshi sang and played drums. He was credited as "Jean" rather than Jian on the band's first album but reverted to the original spelling of his name for subsequent albums. A year after forming, Moxy Früvous was opening for headline performers like Bob Dylan. Moxy Früvous sold over 50,000 copies of their debut independent EP in 1992 (gold in Canada). Their debut album Bargainville went platinum in Canada in 1994 after selling over 100,000 copies. The band was also nominated for a Juno award as Band of the Year in 1994. Over the course of eight albums, they sold over 500,000 copies of their albums in Canada and the United States and made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Ghomeshi released his first solo EP, The First 6 Songs, in July 2001.
A 1996 video tape, revealed in 2014, suggested that Ghomeshi disdained his audiences, stating on camera that people paying to see the band's shows were "losers" and "fucking idiots". David Yuhnke, who was present at the recording, suspected that Ghomeshi was joking, recalling that the room's atmosphere was "sarcasm-laded", but added that he found it "hard to gauge entirely if he [Ghomeshi] was being serious or not".
In 1999, Ghomeshi began a correspondence with a 16-year-old girl, Sally Block, who was a fan of Moxy Früvous. This continued for three years and included in-person meetings where Ghomeshi is alleged to have been "handsy" with her. In 2002, they had a falling out and Block broke into Ghomeshi's email account. Ghomeshi sought to have her banned from "FruCon" – a Moxy Früvous convention – and wanted criminal charges to be pressed against her. She was allowed to attend FruCon and Ghomeshi dropped the issue after her father confronted him for "carrying on this type of relationship with an underage girl".
In 2002, Ghomeshi became host of CBC Newsworld's >play, a show about the arts in Canada and abroad. >play ran for three seasons and won a Gemini Award. He also did the weekly entertainment report on the Toronto edition of Canada Now, as well as wrote columns for The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. In 2006, he finished a documentary series entitled The End, which described technology's effects on television, radio, and print as well as the future of the media. He hosted the radio series 50 Tracks and 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version on CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2. From fall 2005 until spring 2006, he hosted a program on Radio One called The National Playlist.
On April 8, 2009, actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton appeared with his band, The Boxmasters, on Q, with Ghomeshi hosting. In introducing Thornton, Ghomeshi mentioned Thornton's acting career and added, "he's always intended to make music, he just got sidetracked." In responding to Ghomeshi's subsequent interview questions, Thornton acted confused and gave vague, evasive answers. When asked about his musical tastes and influences as a child, Thornton answered with a rambling commentary about his favourite childhood magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland. Later in the interview, Thornton said that the reason for his uncooperative answers was that Ghomeshi had been "instructed not to discuss" his film career but had done so.
Ghomeshi was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder in about 2009 after suffering a panic attack. He began seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis. Ghomeshi told journalist Courtney Shea that the psychological issues arose because of "[f]eeling like an outsider because of my Iranian background, trust issues. A lot of not feeling good enough". At the urging of his therapist, Ghomeshi purchased a teddy bear to replace his childhood toy and help him deal with his anxiety.
From April 16, 2007, to October 26, 2014, Ghomeshi was the host of Q, a program airing twice daily on CBC Radio One, and on over 170 stations in the United States over Public Radio International. Ghomeshi became "famous as the coolly insightful host of Q, a marquee interviewer with a mellifluous voice that he would tune to the cadence of his guest, fostering a sense of intimacy". As the host of Q, Ghomeshi interviewed a range of musicians, artists, actors, and other notable figures, a list that included filmmaker Woody Allen, former Beatle Paul McCartney, novelist Salman Rushdie, journalist Barbara Walters, former Star Trek star William Shatner, rapper Jay-Z, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Canadian musical icon Leonard Cohen. In 2012, Ghomeshi received the Gold Award for best talk show host at the New York Festivals' International Radio Awards. By 2013, with Ghomeshi as the show’s host, Q had a weekly audience of more than 2.5 million listeners weekly in Canada and 550,000 listeners in the United States. During his time as host of Q, Ghomeshi many times booked guests who shared his agent and lawyer without disclosing this connection.
Ghomeshi's literary debut, 1982, is a creative non-fiction title, about that year of his youth. It was released on September 18, 2012. It is a memoir of Ghomeshi's life at the age of 14 (during 1982) growing up as an Iranian-Canadian in Thornhill, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto), his attempt to fit in as one of the few non-white kids in his neighbourhood, and his goal of mimicking his idol David Bowie.
On November 2, 2012, Ghomeshi's review of the film Argo was published in The Globe and Mail. While Ghomeshi calls the film about the 1979-1980 hostage crisis "enthralling" and "entertaining", he says it has a "problematic" and "deeply troubling portrayal of the Iranian people", who are depicted as villainous "hordes of hysterical, screaming, untrustworthy, irrational, bearded and lethal antagonists".
Ghomeshi's production company, Jian Ghomeshi Productions Inc., managed musician Martina Sorbara (now of the band Dragonette) and produced music for Dar Williams. He managed electropop artist Lights from 2007 until 2014, during which time she won the Juno Award for Best New Artist and was nominated for several more. Lights initially supported Ghomeshi after he was accused of sexual abuse in 2014, but later dropped him as her manager, saying: "I rushed to defend my manager of 12 years. I am now aware that my comments appear insensitive to those impacted and for that I am deeply sorry".
Ghomeshi hosted the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards ceremony. He was set to host the November 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize awards gala but was replaced in October by comedian Rick Mercer. In November 2014, he was replaced as the host of the CBC competition Canada Reads by Wab Kinew, the previous year's winner.
In December 2014 the CBC announced that it would not be rebroadcasting Ghomeshi's interviews and it would be removing them from the CBC's online archive. Reactions to this decision were swift and varied and, after further deliberations by CBC management, the decision was reversed.
In October 2014, Brown tweeted that he was working on a story that would be "worse than embarrassing for certain parties". Brown later said that he was referring to another story but Ghomeshi requested a meeting with CBC on October 23. During that meeting, the CBC viewed what it later described as "graphic evidence that Jian had caused physical injury to a woman". According to Vice, Ghomeshi showed his bosses lewd text messages on a CBC-owned phone and graphic personal sex videos.
Ghomeshi filed a $55 million lawsuit against the CBC, alleging that the broadcaster misused "personal and confidential information provided to it in confidence". He also filed "a union grievance alleging wrongful dismissal and defamation", and stated through his lawyer that he "does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory". Ghomeshi withdrew his lawsuit on November 25, 2014. The terms of settlement stipulated that Ghomeshi will pay the CBC $18,000 in legal costs.
In October 2014 his publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, announced that it would not publish his second book "in light of recent events" following allegations of sexual abuse.
On November 26, 2014, following termination by the CBC, Ghomeshi turned himself in to Toronto Police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, after an investigation that began on October 31, 2014. The charges concern three separate women. He appeared in court on the same day and was released on $100,000 bail on the conditions that he surrender his passport, stay within Ontario and live with his mother.
Ghomeshi appeared in court again on January 8, 2015, and was charged with three additional counts of sexual assault related to three more women. In a court appearance on February 26, 2015, a judicial pretrial was set for March 27, 2015, and was later put over to April 28, 2015. His lawyer, Marie Henein, stated that he would plead not guilty to all charges. On October 1, 2015, Ghomeshi pleaded not guilty to one count of choking and four counts of sexual assault.
Ghomeshi's trial began on February 1, 2016, and lasted eight days. On March 24, 2016, the judge acquitted Ghomeshi of all charges on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The inconsistency and "outright deception" of the witnesses' testimony had irreparably weakened the prosecution's case. Judge William Horkins accused the complainants of "lying or trying to conceal evidence from the court". Lawyer Marie Heinen was able to access thousands of messages between Ghomeshi's accusers and presented them during the trial.
A second trial for one additional charge was scheduled for June 2016. On May 11, 2016, however, the Crown withdrew the last remaining charge, re: the alleged sexual assault against the producer of Q, Kathryn Borel, after Ghomeshi signed a peace bond which does not include an admission of guilt. (The publication ban as to the name of the victim, Borel, was lifted on May 11, 2016.) According to Borel, Henein approached Borel's representation to ask for an alternative to a trial, and after several exchanges Ghomeshi agreed to apologize to Borel and did so formally.
In April 2017, Ghomeshi launched a new creative endeavor called The Ideation Project. The Ideation Project is a music and podcast series featuring all original words, music, recordings and production by Ghomeshi, which has Ghomeshi commenting on a range of cultural and newsworthy topics. Ghomeshi launched The Ideation Project with a monologue called "Exiles" on the topic of what it means to not have a homeland. Season 1 includes 13 "tracks" on various subjects. The web series, distributed by Ron Hartenbaum's WYD Media Management was described by The Globe and Mail as a "less than triumphant return" despite what they refer to as his slick voice and delivery. Additional backlash to Ghomeshi's return to media resulted in Art19 backing out of hosting the media files, which were subsequently relocated to SoundCloud.
On October 11, 2018, Ghomeshi's article entitled "Reflections from a Hashtag", a 3,000 word essay, was published in The New York Review of Books. On October 25, 2018, the magazine's editors acknowledged that Ghomeshi's essay generated "considerable criticism from readers", and they admitted to "failures in the presentation and editing of his story", stating that readers should have been informed about the "serious nature and number of allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi"; as well, the editors amended the online version of the essay, adding a summary of these allegations. The Guardian article entitled "How one article capsized a New York literary institution" states that publishing Ghomeshi's essay led to a "storm of criticism" from major figures in the literary world, an apology from the publisher, and the firing of editor Ian Buruma.
In mid-April 2020, Ghomeshi started Roqe, a new podcast series, which is aimed at an audience of Iranian-Canadians and the global Iranian diaspora. Roqe focuses on Iranian culture-related topics and has interviews with guests of interest to its target audience. Examples of guests include Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion (episode 1.1), kickboxer Farinaz Kari (episode 1.2), and Bollywood actress/model Mandana Karimi (episode 8). The name "Roqe" is a Farsi word that means "candid, or straightforward in conversation."
On May 9, 2020, the current president of the Iranian Canadian Congress, Soudeh Ghasemi, said that her group is "extremely disturbed by comments made by Mehrdad Ariannejad speaking about the accusations of sexual violence against Mr. Ghomeshi", in which Ariannejad said he did not believe the women. Ghasemi said, "These comments in our opinion are unacceptable and extremely disturbing," and she clarified that "...Mr. Ariannejad currently has no executive role at the ICC and he does not represent the point of view of the ICC on this issue."
Currently, Jian Ghomeshi is 55 years, 5 months and 17 days old. Jian Ghomeshi will celebrate 56th birthday on a Friday 9th of June 2023.
Find out about Jian Ghomeshi birthday activities in timeline view here.