The Press in Cannes |  Cinema at the crossroads

willful blindness

Philippe Bond’s name was on everyone’s lips Thursday night, even the well-cooked The afternoon is (still) young at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. I listened to Maude Landry and Suzie Bouchard wryly about the fact that Philippe Bond would be the Last of the Mohicans in the comedian/sex offender colony and now we could move on to another (comic) number. A good thing was fixed.

Posted at 7:15 am

No, Philippe Bond will not be the last. There are others and there will be others, of course. I was behind the scenes of this show, and the feeling that I perceived among the attendees -the majority- at the gala, was that of general exhaustion and profound tiredness.

Catherine Éthier was telling me about the column she was going to give the next morning on Radio-Canada radio, having the impression of repeating what she has said many times since the microphone was passed to her. But with the conviction that these things must be repeated.

“Every time a voice is raised, every time a woman denounces, following the channels set up for that purpose, nothing happens,” he said. all one morning Friday. She experienced it herself, going twice to a police station to file a complaint, for two different events, without follow-up.

Sometimes victims not only face the inability of the police and court system to properly handle their complaint, but also suffer from backlash. They threaten them with lawsuits for slander, call them to silence, censor them and gag them, Catalina recalled.

I know victims who have paid dearly, for their careers, for their mental, physical and economic health, the price of having dared to denounce their aggressor. I know allies of these victims who have paid so much the price of having said in public what others whispered in private. Silenced for telling the truth. We would probably never see them again, in hindsight.

Women. To whom we quickly made it clear that loudmouths are still funny when they make jokes, but only when their speech is not compromising, that it does not interfere in the present or annoy advertisers and sponsors.

Yes, everyone knew, in the middle of the humor, that Philippe Bond had a reputation as a toxic personality. Many wondered how he had slipped through the cracks of #MeToo. This story of the locked car door and the captured passenger has been going around for a while, like the apology letter after a Farewell party of TV.

The journalists had investigated and contacted the victims, who were not ready to testify openly for fear of reprisals. We can easily understand them. Some feared the repercussions of a kick in the anthill of an environment incapable of self-regulation, plagued by sordid stories that we prefer to sweep under the rug.

While allegations of sexual misconduct involving Philippe Bond have been mounting for more than a decade, with some choosing to keep the comedian at bay, others have used the convenient excuse of the presumption of innocence (a principle of criminal justice). ) to justify their deliberate acts. blindness.

Nothing prevents a diligent employer, other than a criminal court, from bringing internal complaints of sexual misconduct to light. For later, if these are confirmed, give the benefit of the doubt to the victims who denounced it.

However, businessmen and partners have preferred to blindly trust a comedian on whom many suspicions have weighed for years. Instead of asking more questions and giving even a minimum of importance and attention to the version of the alleged victims. And does it still surprise us that women hesitate to report their aggressor?

If a long journalistic investigation had not ended up revealing Philippe Bond’s misconduct, if his alleged victims, in the face of the comedian’s distressing public denial -unable to recognize himself in the mirror they held him-, it would not have been like that. Enough was enough, he decided, Bond would still be fronting a popular show on the Energy network.

Until one day, maybe, who knows? —, finally a complaint to the police is taken seriously and that justice reaches 21me century in the treatment of crimes of a sexual nature.

While women, for reasons of principle, ethics and solidarity, or for fear of becoming victims themselves, have refused contracts so as not to be on stage or in the air in the presence of Bond, the latter continued to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars with impunity.

Over the last few years, seeing the image of Philippe Bond on a billboard, I have often asked myself this question: couldn’t this show be hosted by someone else? I didn’t even say a woman. Someone else. Someone who does not potentially threaten the safety and integrity of women, 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 suffer the brunt of their association with this controversial comedian? I asked them on Friday. I am still waiting for the answer.

#willful #blindness

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