One year after the publication of his first issue as editor of the New York Review of Books, Ian Buruma is no longer in the position. The move comes amidst the fallout over Buruma’s decision to publish a controversial first-person essay last week by disgraced Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016.
Buruma subsequently doubled down on his provocative editorial call in an interview with Isaac Chotiner of Slate. Commenting on the numerous accusations against Ghomeshi, Buruma dismissed Ghomeshi’s history. “The exact nature of his behavior – how much consent was involved – I have no idea,” he said, “nor is that really my concern.”
A spokesman for the New York Review of Books has confirmed that Buruma is no longer editor of the prestigious 55-year-old magazine. It is not known whether the 66-year-old Dutchman was dismissed or if he had resigned. Buruma did not respond to The Globe and Mail’s requests for comment.
In Ghomeshi’s lengthy piece, titled “Reflections from a Hashtag,” he refers to himself as an “erstwhile celebrity who is now an outcast.” The essay was criticized in social media circles for its brazenness and self-pitying tone: “One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer,” wrote Ghomeshi, now based in New York.
In his interview with Slate, Buruma defended his decision to commission and publish Ghomeshi’s essay. “I’m no judge of the rights and wrongs of every allegation,” Buruma was quoted as saying. “All I know is that in a court of law he was acquitted, and there is no proof he committed a crime.”
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 In May, 2016, he apologized to a fourth complainant and signed a peace bond that saw another count of sexual assault withdrawn.
Currently available online, Ghomeshi’s essay is scheduled to be released in print on Oct. 11, as part of a package billed as “The Fall of Men.”