Green Party leader Elizabeth May and left-wing activist Judy Rebick have pulled back statements that some criticized as being supportive of fired CBC host Jian Ghomeshi, who has been accused of punching and choking women without consent.
After the CBC dismissed Ghomeshi on Sunday but hours before the allegations against him were made public, May wrote on Twitter that she supported the radio personality.
“I think Jian is wonderful. Likely TMI for an old fogey like me, but his private life is none of our beeswax,” May wrote.
She was responding to a statement Ghomeshi posted on Facebook in which he asserted that sexual assault allegations made against him were “categorically untrue.”
On Monday, the Star detailed allegations from three women who said Ghomeshi punched and choked them.
In a statement responding to online criticism of her tweets about Ghomeshi, May noted she had written her post before the Star’s article was published.
“Violent attacks on women are not acceptable. Full stop,” May wrote.
She added that Ghomeshi has not been charged or convicted.
“In saying, as I will continue to say, that anyone in our society is entitled to the presumption of innocence, I am not in any way disbelieving the women who state they were assaulted,” she wrote.
“I apologize to those who feel I let them down by appearing to ‘take sides’ and disbelieve the women who were interviewed by the Toronto Star.”
Also on Sunday, activist and author Judy Rebick shared on Facebook a National Post column with the headline “Whatever the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, his show was a stunning accomplishment.”
Rebick, one of the founders of left-wing media source Rabble.ca, recently wrote a book chronicling feminism in Canada and was an early supporter of Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s work to challenge abortion laws in Ontario.
In the National Post column, Jonathan Kay wrote that many Canadians enjoyed Ghomeshi’s work on the show.
“An excellent and deserved tribute to Jian who, whatever else he may have done, was a great broadcaster,” Rebick wrote in the post.
On Twitter, many people sent angry replies to Rebick.
“I can’t believe you thought fawning over his ‘talent’ while he is being accused of violence was a good idea,” another wrote.
“Yes, Jian’s smarts. (sic) And what of Dahmer? Despite his insatiable appetite he was a brilliant entomologist,” another post read.
Hours after sharing the article, Rebick removed it and posted an update on Twitter.