Willful Blindness | The press

The name Philippe Bond was on everyone’s lips on Thursday evening, to the well-cooked The evening is (still) young in the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. I listened wryly to Maude Landry and Suzie Bouchard that Philippe Bond would be the last of the mohicans in the comedian/sex offender colony and that we could now move on to another (comic) number. A good thing has ended.

Posted at 7:15am

No, Philippe Bond will not be the last. There are others and of course there will be others. I was behind the scenes of this show and the feeling I caught from the attendees – most – of the gala was one of general exhaustion and a deep tiredness.

Catherine Éthier spoke to me about the column she would be giving on Radio Canada radio the next morning and felt as if she had been repeating what she had said many times since she had been given a microphone. But with the conviction that these things must be repeated.

“Every time a voice is raised, every time a woman denounces by following the designated channels, nothing happens,” she said All in one morning Friday. She experienced it herself, went to a police station twice to make a report, on two separate occasions, with no follow-up.

Sometimes victims not only encounter the inability of the police and judicial system to properly handle their complaint, but also suffer backlash. They are threatened with defamation lawsuits, silenced, censored and muzzled, Catherine recalls.

I know victims who have paid the price in their careers, in their mental, physical and financial health for daring to denounce their attacker. I know allies of these victims who have paid just as much to say publicly what others have whispered in private. Silenced for telling the truth. In hindsight, we would probably never see her again.

Women. We quickly made it clear to him that even big mouths are funny when they crack jokes, but only if their speech isn’t compromising, meddling with current affairs, or upsetting advertisers and sponsors.

Yes, everyone knew, amid humor, that Philippe Bond carried with him a reputation for a toxic personality. Many wondered how he slipped through the cracks of #MeToo. This story of the locked car door and the trapped passenger has been circulating for a while, like the apology letter after one graduation party of television.

Journalists had investigated and contacted victims who, fearing reprisals, were reluctant to testify openly. We can easily understand them. Some feared the consequences of stepping into the anthill of an incapable of self-regulating environment, plagued by sordid stories we’d rather sweep under the rug.

While allegations of sexual misconduct related to Philippe Bond have been mounting for more than a decade and some have decided to keep the comedian at bay, others have used the convenient excuse of the presumption of innocence (a tenet of criminal justice) to justify their intent to be blind .

Nothing prevents a conscientious employer who is not a criminal court from bringing allegations of sexual misconduct internally to light. Because if these are confirmed, you give the victims who reported this right in case of doubt.

However, employers and partners prefer to blindly trust a comedian who has been the subject of many suspicions for years. Instead of asking more questions and giving the alleged victims’ version even a minimum of meaning and attention. And we’re still surprised women hesitate to denounce their attacker?

If a long-running journalistic investigation hadn’t uncovered Philippe Bond’s wrongdoing, when faced with the comedian’s painful public denial — who doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror held up to him — his alleged victims, his alleged victims hadn’t decided enough was enough, Bond always would yet to be at the forefront of a popular Energy Network show.

Maybe one day – who knows? —, a complaint to the police is finally taken seriously and the judiciary reaches the 21ste Century dealing with crimes of a sexual nature.

While women have turned down contracts not to be on stage or on the air in Bond’s presence for reasons of principle, ethics, solidarity, or fear of becoming a victim themselves, the latter continued to make hundreds of thousands of dollars with impunity.

Over the past few years, when I’ve seen the picture of Philippe Bond on a billboard, I’ve often asked myself this question: Couldn’t someone else host this show? I didn’t even say a woman. Someone else. Someone who does not potentially compromise women’s safety and integrity, who allows them to work in a healthy environment.

Didn’t Philippe Bond’s employers have a duty to be more vigilant lest women in general bear the brunt of their association with this controversial comedian? I asked her on Friday. I’m still waiting for the answer.

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