I was not the only one who found Rosie DiManno’s monstrous bit of rape apology to be deeply offensive, as it turns out: several others wrote in to the paper to complain, and a petition is circulating online, calling (as I have done) for DiManno to be sacked. Sign it.
The Public Editor of the Star, one Kathy English, has offered-up the following weak reply :
“The Star believes in the widest possible expression of free speech, in line with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Star’s policy manual states that: ‘Columnists and Op-Ed writers have wide latitude to express their own views in the Star, including views directly contrary to the Star’s editorial views, as long as they fall within the boundaries of good taste and the laws of libel.'”
I, for one, am not at all impressed. As seems to happen perennially these days when newspapers publish truly vile opinion pieces (or blatant examples of plagiarism), we see professional journalists–who clearly know better–deliberately misrepresenting the nature of free speech. To clarify: neither I, nor the petitioners are saying that Rosie DiManno should not be allowed to express her opinions. Let her set up a tumblr like everybody else. What we are saying, rather, is that the Star, whose prestige automatically lends some degree of respectability, should not be publishing such abhorrent views. There is quite a difference.
The only thing that I have left to say on this matter is that I have no idea in what possible universe publicly ridiculing a rape victim falls “within the boundaries of good taste,” but I sure as hell am glad that I don’t live there.