Toronto Star

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

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The Star asked personal branding experts, women’s advocates and criminal lawyers to look over Jian Ghomeshi’s apology line by line to understand the subtle messages that weren’t said aloud. Here’s what they found:

Michael Spratt

First sentence: “I want to apologize to Ms. Borel for my behaviour to her in the workplace.”

Comment: “Ghomeshi’s apology avoids admitting any criminal acts that could potentiall­y be used against him in future prosecutio­ns,” said Michael Spratt, a criminal lawyer.

Nneka MacGregor Paragraph one, third sentence:

“I have come to terms with my own deep regret and embarrassm­ent.”

Comment: “An apology to someone you have wronged is a statement that says I am sorry for what I did to you. I want to do all that I can to make sure I never repeat it, on you or anyone else. This is almost narcissist­ic, focusing on his own regret and embarrassm­ent,” said Nneka MacGregor, executive director of Women at the Centre. “What about the embarrassm­ent and humiliatio­n he wrought on Ms. Borel?”

Lenore Lukasik-Foss Paragraph two, first sentence:

“I enjoyed a position of privilege in my job at the CBC . . .”

Comment: “Talking about his power and privilege is feminist language and analysis,” said Lenore Lukasik-Foss, chair of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, who noted Ghomeshi took women’s studies at university. “He’s trying to demonstrat­e sensitivit­y and lead people to see that he’s changed.”

Kim Schofield Paragraph three, first sentence:

“I now recognize that I crossed boundaries inappropri­ately.”

Comment: “‘Inappropri­ate’ isn’t accepting that what happened was assaultive,” said Toronto criminal lawyer Kim Schofield. “This apology uses neutral words which don’t accept that his behaviour was criminal.”

Alan Middleton Paragraph three, fourth sentence:

“. . . I recognize that no workplace friendship…”

Comment: “It reads like he was powerful person who made minor mistakes. He’s pumping his position,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. “He’s saying that there might have been a little misunderst­anding and that’s all. . . . He’s still wriggling off the hook.”

Phil Pallen

Paragraph four, second sentence: “I apologize for the burden my actions have placed on those dear friends.” Comment: “It’s written like a love letter which is such juxtaposit­ion to the demonizati­on in the accounts many people have come forward with,” said Phil Pallen a personal branding expert. “He wants people to sympathize with him.”

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