A New York Times feature about an upcoming book by Toronto filmmaker Sarah Polley says it includes allegations of a decades-old violent encounter between her and former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
In an article published Thursday, the Times summarized sections of Polley’s upcoming essay collection “Run Towards the Danger,” and said the actress, screenwriter and director describes an incident with Ghomeshi when she was 16 and he was 28.
Times reporter Dave Itzkoff zeroed in on a chapter titled “The Woman Who Stayed Silent,” and recounted a passage as saying Ghomeshi “became violent during a sexual encounter in which he ignored her pleas to stop hurting her.”
The article said Ghomeshi did not respond to requests for comment sent to Roqe Media, where he’s the host, CEO and executive producer of an online interview program focused on the Iranian diaspora.
The Canadian Press also sent Ghomeshi a request for comment through Roqe Media on Friday, as well as lawyer Marie Henein who defended Ghomeshi against several sexual assault-related charges that ended in his acquittal in 2016. Both requests were unanswered Friday afternoon.
A media representative for Polley’s publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, would not provide a review copy Friday and said Polley would not be available to discuss the book with The Canadian Press before a scheduled interview later this month.
Polley, 43, is quoted in the New York Times article saying she felt “a deep, ethical obligation” to tell the story.
The Times said Polley writes in the essay that friends and lawyers discouraged her from coming forward as allegations against Ghomeshi began to surface in 2014 because her memory and sexual history could be called into question.
She writes that she and Ghomeshi had exchanged playful emails and engaged in friendly radio interviews in the years after the incident, said the Times article.
Ghomeshi was acquitted in March 2016 of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking involving three complainants. In May 2016, he apologized to a fourth complainant and signed a peace bond that saw another count of sexual assault withdrawn.
“Run Towards the Danger” is slated for release March 1.
Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press